Be­ware, in the Don Val­ley, there be mon­sters

New Ev­er­green art pro­ject an­i­mates the Lower Don Trail in time for Hal­loween

Annex Post - - NEWS - by Macken­zie Pat­ter­son

If you fre­quently walk or cy­cle through the Lower Don Trail at night, be­ware: you can now ex­pect to find your­self face-to-face with a gi­ant con­crete mon­ster. Mon­sters for Beauty, Per­ma­nence and In­di­vid­u­al­ity, a collection of con­crete gar­goyles by artist Duane Lin­klater, is the first art in­stal­la­tion in the new Don River Val­ley Park Art Pro­gram.

Lo­cated in a meadow just north of the Bloor Viaduct, the in­stal­la­tion is meant to spark a con­ver­sa­tion about Toronto’s his­tory and how the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment of the Don Val­ley served as the ba­sis for the city’s growth. Lin­klater cre­ated con­crete repli­cas of gar­goyles from his­toric build­ings around the down­town core to evoke a sense of power, pro­tec­tion and author­ity and raise important ques­tions about In­dige­nous cul­ture and colo­nial­ism.

Kari Cwynar, cu­ra­tor of Ev­er­green’s Don River Val­ley Art Pro­gram, said she and the artists in the pro­gram are look­ing for­ward to bridg­ing the gap be­tween vis­ual art and the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.

“It’s a chance to bring to­gether art and ecol­ogy, but it’s also a plat­form to evoke re­ally im- por­tant ques­tions about public space and ur­ban life,” she said. “It’s a re­ally cru­cial mo­ment and place to con­sider the orig­i­nal in­hab­i­tants of the land here and how the land has changed and con­tin­ues to change. Duane’s pro­ject is a re­ally important pro­ject for us in terms of those ques­tions.”

Ge­off Cape, CEO of Ev­er­green Brick Works, said the com­pany cre­ated the new Don River Val­ley Art Pro­gram as a means of hon­our­ing the past and look­ing ahead to the fu­ture. He said Mon­sters for Beauty is in recog­ni­tion of the First Na­tions com­mu­ni­ties who pre­vi­ously oc­cu­pied the land.

“This is the largest ur­ban ravine sys­tem in the world, and some­thing that needs real at­ten­tion, and so the art pro­gram here was a chance to pro­voke, pow­er­fully and emo­tion­ally, ques­tions and maybe even a few answers around what might be done with this sys­tem,” he said. The in­stal­la­tion is tem­po­rary, but Cwynar said it will be around for the next five to 10 years. Ev­er­green’s new public art pro­gram was sched­uled to launch in the Don Val­ley Sept. 23.

Duane Lin­klater’s eerie scult­pures an­i­mate the Don Val­ley just in time for Hal­loween

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