The annual Winter Stations interactive art displays got political this year at the Woodbine Beaches.
The artwork’s theme was migration, and one of the displays, “Above The Wall” by Joshua Carel and Adelle York, is a bridge built atop a steel barrier. It’s a message intended to criticize Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, stating that this type of security measure is “re-emerging as a nationalist tool to prevent migration” in the sign next to the display.
“It’s a big middle finger to the administration across the lake,” said Peter Martyn who was visiting the display.
His wife, Shelley Quinn, felt the display’s message wasn’t changing any minds, because the local area was already left-leaning. She said that people around the beaches would generally feel the same way about Trump’s wall as the artists do. “It gets people out in the winter,” she said, remarking more about how nice it is to have an art display to enjoy in a public space.
The displays aren’t just enjoyable for the public, they also give a great opportunity to artists who win the competition and get their projects built on the beaches.
“Working in the arts, it can be quite difficult to get your foot in the door,” said RAW design’s Aaron Hendershott, one of the founders of Winter Stations. “Through this competition, it’s been a really great way to expose the talents of young designers who wouldn’t normally get the opportunity.”
The six art displays were chosen out of roughly 300 submissions from around the world. Hendershott said he believes one of the best parts of Winter Stations for the winners is getting to see a project through to completion and the satisfaction that experience that can give.
Most of the contest winners are students, and having such a well-known Toronto art show featuring their work will be very useful for networking and job resumes. The group’s designs are very creative as well, each telling their own stories.
Mind Station by Tomasz Piotrowski and Łukasz Chaberka is a display meant to encourage conversation between its guests. People walk underneath the wooden structure, and stand on log stools to stick their heads through openings in the ceiling.
After looking up and over the roof of the structure, guests are supposed to chat with other people poking through the holes. The displays description stated that “visitors move to the higher ‘soul’ state of idea exchange, rejecting man’s physicality” when they separate conversation from body language.
Chairavan by a Sheridan College design team reimagines the lifeguard towers as if they are warping across the beaches. Each structure is a snapshot of how the artist imagined the metal towers would move if they came to life. The description for this display stated that “the proportions of the original tower have been stretched, shrunk and distorted” to show the migration of the lifeguard tower along the beach.
The Forest of Butterflies by Luis Enrique Hernandez represents the migration of monarch butterflies to the Michoacán forests in Mexico. It takes four generations of the butterfly to make the trip, because they can’t live long enough to complete it in one lifetime. The display description wrote that “each generation is represented with an orange tone, admiring the strength of this insect that bears this crossing.”
Cavalcade by assistant Professor Victor Perez-Amado and a team of third year Master of Architecture students is designed to represent human movement. The coloured cut-outs of people walking are going on “the human quest for a better life” according to the displays description.
Winter Stations runs until April 1.