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Sculpture Local artist

The Magpies' Nests

Kevin Sehn & Chai Duncan // 2018

Bronze|Painted Steel
Rossdale Linear Park

Photo by Doyle C. Marko

Rossdale Linear Park is a slice of nature in in an urban setting. The Magpies’ Nests considers the complex interactions between humans and nature as well as the concept of home”. The welded steel nests on top of four plinths relate to structures found in Edmonton. The pyramid references the Muttart Conservatory; the cube stands in for local industrial buildings relating to ideas of innovation and productivity; the pentagonal prism, or house ‑shape, represents dwellings found the surrounding community; the sphere represents the magpie’s own expertly built domed nest. 

Artists’ Statement
According to the CBC, Edmonton is thought to be the black-billed magpie capital of Canada. Part of the corvid family, magpies are known to be resourceful, loyal and brave. Widely considered one of the most intelligent animals on earth, they are well known as expert nest builders. In the English fairy-tale The Magpie’s Nest, the magpie was asked by all the birds of the land to teach them the best way to build their nests. After gathering all the birds before her, the magpie began her lesson. But as each stage of her nest-building demo unfolded, one by one each of the birds would leave with only part of the information, thinking that the demo was complete. This is why, it is said that each species of bird builds their nests differently.

With our project The Magpies’ Nests we nod to this fairy tale and to the expert nest-building capabilities of the black-billed magpie. The welded steel structures (nests), each house one, two or five cast bronze magpies. Each of the nests is painted a bold colour contrasting with the magpies within and the natural surroundings without.

Rossdale Linear Park