Couzyn Van Heuvelen Short-Listed for Public Art Project

By August 9, 2019News

Couzyn Van Heuvelen Untitled (2019) COURTESY CITY OF TORONTO

A bold and graphic nod to the history of Inuit printmaking by Bowmanville-based sculptor and installation artist Couzyn Van Heuvelen is among the five short-listed proposals for the Glen Road Pedestrian Tunnel public art project.

“I have approached this space with migration and travel in mind,” the artist notes in his untitled proposal. “These are important parts of traditional and contemporary Inuit life, and common themes within the canon of Inuit art.”

Surrounding the entrance to the tunnel, which is located near the Rosedale neighbourhood in Toronto, ON, Van Heuvelen has proposed a series of bold, graphic, multi-coloured cut-outs of avian forms directly referencing the history of printmaking across Inuit Nunangat.

Carved stone slab part of the permanent installation by Couzyn Van Heuvelen at OCAD University, Toronto, 2018

Further references to the processes of printmaking, informed by the work of celebrated artists Kenojuak Ashevak, OC, ON, RCA (1935-2013), Jessie Oonark, OC, RCA (1906-1985), Qavavau Manumie, and more, appear inside the tunnel itself. The artist has proposed a series of concrete panels resembling the carved stone slabs used in the stonecut printing method to wrap both walls of the thoroughfare. These formwork panels will feature enlarged representations of the markings made during the carving of stone blocks, as well as additional compositions of Arctic birds painted in vibrant hues as if to suggest they have just been inked.

The ceiling of the tunnel will be covered in a series of undulating stainless steel fins equipped with lighting to provide interior illumination while referencing the buried river that the site sits on. Complimenting the applications to the exterior and interior of the tunnel, a series of sculptural concrete bollards resembling resting dogs will delineate the pedestrian-only zone while deterring vehicle and bike traffic from entering.

Van Heuvelen’s intervention builds on the site-specific installation at the George Reid House at OCAD University in Toronto, ON, as well as his 2017 residency in Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake), NU.

“Toronto has played a major role in the Inuit art market over the past several decades, and has a large Inuit population,” Van Heuvelen continues about the project. “However, this population is not always visible or represented, so it is very important to me that I try to make an Indigenous presence visible through my practice.”

Concepts by Toronto-based sculptor Jenn Aitken, Toronto-based installation artist Dan Bergeron,  Toronto-based photographic artist Jimmy Limit and Saint-Romuald-based installation artist Ludovic Boney are among the additional shortlisted schemes. The City of Toronto is inviting feedback on the proposals until Monday August 12, 2019.

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