On my recent solo trip to the Motherland my favorite public art in Ottawa was the sculpture Maman by Louise Bourgeois. The giant spider stands in front of the National Gallery of Canada at 380 Sussex Drive. I first visited Maman on my way back from a tour of the Royal Canadian Mint and returned a second time when I viewed the contemporary art at the National Gallery.
Louise Bourgeois was born in Paris in 1911 and died in New York in 2010 at the age of 98. She studied at the Sorbonne, initially studying mathematics for a couple of years but began studying art in 1932.
The sculpture Maman is made of bronze, stainless steel, and marble. The information posted at the National Gallery of Canada states:
The giant egg-carrying spider, is a nurturing and protective symbol of fertility and motherhood, shelter and the home. With its monumental and terrifying scale, however, Maman also betrays this maternal trust to incite a mixture of fear and curiosity.
I spent one afternoon walking along the Rideau Canal and smiled when I spotted the brightly painted stairs around downtown Ottawa. I was waiting for the guy to leave so I could get a good photo without any people but decided the photo with the guy standing on the stairs/deck was more interesting.
My first day in Ottawa I walked from the Wellington West neighborhood, where I rented a room via AirBnB, to the Ottawa River just a few blocks away. I was walking along the shoreline of the river when I noticed what looked like a few inukshuks and took some photos. I didn’t realize there was an entire exhibit of rock art along the Ottawa River until I had ventured further west.
The annual rock art exhibit along the Ottawa River is curated by John Felicè Ceprano. There were a couple of evening events at the exhibit location. One was a concert which I missed but I did attend the Fairy Dance performance by Natasha Royka Movement. It was great fun! A bunch of kids dancing with the fairy dance performers – it was a bit of magic for the evening.
I found more dancing art – Dancing Bear byPauta Saila is located in a courtyard of the ByWard Market between York and Clarence Streets. It was a nice surprise!
When I listed the highlights of my 5 days in Ottawa I mentioned that asparagus was also a part of the public scene in Ottawa I was not joking.
Artichoke is also represented.
“Wooden, spiral, wind-vane thing” is the description given by the artists Alex Wyse and Ken Guild: for the sculpture entitled Twist 1.5 which is located in Major’s Hill Park near the Parliament Buildings.
I hope you have enjoyed my little tour of some of the public art of Ottawa. I enjoyed my visit to Canada’s capital and look forward to visiting again.
What is your favorite city to view public art? What is your favorite public art?