Art Defines Itself in Many Ways

Martel artwork -2 SHERBROOKE: It has been said that “art defines itself in many ways”. This statement was certainly true when it came to the Canada Summer Games 2013 held in Sherbrooke during the month of August. Several particular works, in various sizes, come to mind as we look back over this exciting event. The newly created Canada Games Cauldron, the sculpture created by David Martel (the ‘blue angel’ artist), the creatively designed souvenir pins and the incredible mural created by 112 individual artists from all across Canada are certainly excellent examples of this concept.

The new Canada Games Cauldron that maintains the Olympic Flame throughout the Games was created as a joint effort by a team of students from the University of Sherbrooke, under the direction of Professor Alain Desrochers, chosen to help bring this unique project to its finished form. Three local educational institutions were involved in the cauldron’s creation: Bishop’s University’s Fine Arts Department for its artistic design, the University of Sherbrooke for the engineering and planning of its production and the Lennoxville Vocational Centre for the manufacture and assembly of the Cauldron.

The Cauldron is made of aluminum - a recyclable, resistant material of which Canada is one of the world’s main 1. Cauldronproducers. The finished sculpture is 2.8 meters high and 2 meters wide and is topped with a cupola to hold the 0.9 meter flame. The red leaves and natural aluminum media provide visual contrast and are symbolic of the Canadian flag.

The Cauldron was set up in the University of Sherbrooke stadium where the opening ceremonies were to be held, awaiting the final torch bearer who would light the unique structure. During the Games, the Cauldron could be found at the Athletes Village (Bishop’s University campus). Just in time for the closing ceremonies, the Cauldron made its way to Jacques Cartier Park, located in the center of Sherbrooke, where it would be used to light the torch of the first runner on the next leg of the relay headed toward Prince George, British Columbia – the site of the 2015 Canada Summer Games.

This activity alone would be enough to earn this Sherbrooke sculpture a place in history but its importance continues on as it will be the central focus at future Canada Summer Games events for the next 10 years to come, traveling to many parts of Canada. The 2017 Canada Summer Games are scheduled to be held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, an event that will coincide with the 150th Anniversary of Canada!

David Martel artworkAnother strikingly unique sculpture was the work of sculptor/artist David Martel who used a towering block of Stanstead Grey Granite to create a lasting impression of the athletes who stayed at the Athlete’s Village on the campus of Bishop’s University. While Martel’s usual theme of choice is blue angels, he strayed a little from this with his image of an athlete which was surrounded by smaller images representing athletic events – all in Martel’s signature ‘blue’. Many visitors were curious about the meaning of all the blue dots on the reverse side of the granite sculpture. Their queries were not answered until the second week of the Games as Martel began setting out paint and clean-up supplies close to the sculpture. As athletes walked by, he invited them to dip their thumbs in the paint and put the impression inside one of the dots and sign their name beside it. Although very different, it was indeed a way to mark their visit and their experiences at the Canada Summer Games 2013 Sherbrooke.

One item that proved to be a ‘must have’ among athletes at the 2013 Canada Summer Games Sherbrooke was the colourful selection of Games Pins, representing the various provinces and territories involved in this Barry Taman-The Pin People nationwide competition. The Pin People - Laurie Artiss Ltd is yet another example of a small company (from Saskatchewan) that provided still another artistic creation that played a major role in this year’s event. The Pin People - Laurie Artiss Ltd. has been in existence since 1972, originally associated with curling events. Barry Taman (General Sales Manager) describes it as a family business, actually working with the same factory for 40 years. The 2013 Summer Games Sherbrooke is the 9th such event that this company has been involved with as well as 2 Olympic events. All funds from the sale of these pins go back into the Games themselves.

Taman explained, with pride, the process by which these incredibly beautiful pins had been created. The basic ideas actually come from their own design department after gathering information from the provinces and territories involved. Pins created by The Pin People are stamped out of a copper-based metal and then Quebec Hummingbirdindividually hand-painted, creating a very impressive and durable keepsake. Over 100 pins were created and divided into three categories: specialty collectors’ souvenir pins of the Canada Summer Games 2013 Sherbrooke which could be purchased by anyone, service and partners’ pins that were only available through the trading process and pins depicting each province and territory involved which also were available only through trade. Designers also came up with a series of 8 interlocking pins for the Sherbrooke Games that when put together created a large hummingbird (the official bird of the 2013 Summer Games Sherbrooke). “The goal of these pins is to get people to come together”.

In some cases, the province was created in a series of pins like the grouping of 4 pins representing the Saskatchewan – “Achieve, Believe, Imagine + the Saskatchewan team mission pin”; the five-piece Yukon grouping which included one that was marked “ 2013 Team Yukon – Merci Sherbrooke” ; the most impressive Gotta have those pinsone in the Manitoba collection was a cute buffalo with ‘ ..Toba Power’ written on its back; some even fell into the category of bobble-headed pins. It was clear that a great deal of thought and creativity had gone into the making of these pins.

Amid the trading buzz around these pins was talk of “Ron (from Burlington, Ontario) and John (from Surrey, B.C)”, pin collectors who go to every Canada Games event in hopes of increasing their personal collections – collections with 20,000 and 12,000 pins, respectively. Wouldn’t it be great fun to look over those collections!!! 

 

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