A Toronto-based artist hopes to inspire people to think about the future with his sculpture of Lincoln Alexander

The artist shared the behind-the-scenes story of incorporating elements of the future, drawing inspiration from Star Wars

Quentin VerCetty, a visual storyteller based in North York, stands on the right side of the bust of Hon. Lincoln Alexander he sculpted.
Quentin VerCetty, a visual storyteller based in North York, stands on the right side of the bust of Hon. Lincoln Alexander. He sculpted the bust.(Courtesy Quentin VerCetty) 

A North York artist who sculpted a Star Wars-inspired bust for Queen’s Park of Lincoln Alexander, the first Black Canadian member of Parliament and a former lieutenant governor of Ontario, hopes it will encourage people to think about their own contributions to society.

Quentin VerCetty drew inspiration from Star Wars to create his depiction of Lincoln Alexander. He explained that the base pedestal of the bust was inspired by prominent spaceships in Star Wars, such as Razor Crest and Millennium Falcon.

“What are these things that I can put on as my armour so I can work towards being a greater version of myself?” said VerCetty, 33.

“That could be an ally. That could be standing up for human rights, that could be helping somebody. These are different things that we can do to suit up for greatness.”

The bust of Lincoln Alexander is shown.
The bust of Lincoln Alexander was installed at Queen’s Park on Jan. 21. (Haruka Ide /Toronto Observer)

The bust of Alexander was unveiled at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on Jan. 21. Alexander was born on the same date in 1922; he died in 2012.

VerCetty spent more than six months creating the artwork, including research on Alexander. He found a picture of Alexander attending a Star Wars screening.

“Finding out that he liked science fiction was a big thing,” VerCetty said. “It was a great way to insert this idea of futurism into the work because Alexander was always thinking about the future.”

The close-up of the base pedestal of the bust was shown.
The bust’s base was inspired by spaceships in Star Wars. (Haruka Ide/Toronto Observer)

A committee supported by Licensed to Learn and the Black Opportunity Fund, along with the RBC Foundation, commissioned VerCetty to create Alexander’s bust.

The artist had the opportunity to meet Alexander at Lincoln M. Alexander Secondary School in Malton, Ont., which VerCetty attended from Grades 9 to 11.

Quentin VerCetty (left) sculpts the bust of Alexander.
VerCetty (left) sculpts the bust of Alexander. He spent more than six months creating it.(Courtesy Quentin VerCetty)

Mary-Margaret McMahon, MPP for Beaches-East York, said honouring Alexander at Queen’s Park is a fitting tribute.

“(He was) breaking down barriers all the time and (is) such a tremendous role model,” she said.

Read more from the Toronto Observer:

Alexander was the son of a Caribbean immigrant father who worked as a sleeping car porter for the Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd., one of only a few job opportunities available to Black men in Canada from the late 19th century until the mid 1950s. He attended Earl Grey Public School in Riverdale as the only Black child in his kindergarten class, according to the Globe and Mail. 

Alexander served an unprecedented five terms as Chancellor of the University of Guelph.

VerCetty said Alexander was one of the greatest Canadians, in his opinion, because he continued to actively contribute to society until his final year.

“I really want people to feel inspired to learn more,” he said.

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Posted: Feb 23 2024 1:06 pm
Filed under: Arts & Life Education News