Waterfront Toronto has awarded a contract to Canadian artists Scott Eunson and Marianne Lovink and work is now underway to create a new work of public art for the intersection of Sumach Street and Eastern Avenue in Toronto’s West Don Lands neighbourhood.
Eunson and Lovink’s artwork, entitled Sumach Silhouette, will be composed of two complimentary panels of steel installed along the retaining wall at the edge of the Inglenook Community School property. Intricate laser-cut silhouettes will tell the story of the site beginning 12,000 years ago after the first glacial retreat. Archival information, artifacts and related stories are abstracted into patterns that are woven together to form a tapestry that creates a unique style of visual storytelling with variations of scale, density and context. A central focus of the work commemorates the story of Lucie and Thornton Blackburn, African-American slaves who escaped to Toronto via the Underground Railroad in the mid-1800s and built a house near the current site of the Inglenook school. The Blackburns went on to become prominent and prosperous members of Toronto’s business community and the operators of Upper Canada’s first taxi cab company.
“The concept developed by Scott Eunson and Marianne Lovink expands the central theme of the Blackburn Story to encompass a long history from ancient times to the present,” said the jury’s statement. “The piece will create a meaningful landmark in the neighbourhood and will resound across the many diverse publics of Toronto.”
Scott Eunson and Marianne Lovink are Canadian artists who have been working collaboratively on public art projects since 2009. They have previously completed large-scale commissions for the Toronto Transit Commission and the City of Toronto. Eunson is based in Toronto and Lovink is based in Philadelphia.
Public Art Strategy for the West Don Lands
The West Don Lands is one of the first neighbourhoods in Canada to contemplate public art on this scale from the very early planning stages. As a result, the strategy outlines specific recommendations for conceptualizing, planning and commissioning art that builds a cohesive narrative for the neighbourhood.
Previously announced public art for the West Don Lands include Mirage by Paul Raff, Peeled Pavement by Jill Anholt, No Shoes by Mark di Suvero, The Water Guardians by Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins, and an untitled piece by Takashi Kawamata.
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E: cmckinnon [at] waterfrontoronto.ca