Thursday, October 27, 2022, Peterborough
A public celebration of Trent University’s on-campus collection of sculptures held on October 27 included a presentation by key artists, a walking tour to showcase the nationally-significant pieces, and a thank you to generous donors and sculptors who made the $700,000+ collection possible.
Trent’s Public Sculpture Initiative (PSI) includes several sculptures on the University’s Symons Campus in Peterborough, which have been designated by Heritage Canada as works of national importance. Works include This Column Ends by artist Shayne Dark, a bronze bust of former Trent chancellor and prolific Canadian author Margaret Laurence by artist Almuth Lütkenhaus, and two stunning pieces by David James ’68 entitled Portal. The collection also includes the recent installation of La Porte d’Or by award-winning Quebec artist André Fournelle, as well as the striking rowing sculpture Dead Reckoning, by esteemed artist David Robinson.
“This collection has put Trent University on the map as a destination for art lovers,” says Dr. Suzanne Bailey, chair of the Trent Art Collection Presidential Advisory Committee and professor of English Literature at Trent. “Thanks to the generosity of donors and sculptors, the University continues to strengthen its reputation as an intersection of culturally-significant art and award-winning architecture, which enhances the broader Peterborough community.”
The celebration included presentations from artists David James (Portal) and André Fournelle (La Porte d’Or) as well as Dr. Jessica Becking, principal of Otonabee College. "When I dream, I dream big, bold and beautiful and that’s what this is initiative is really all about, said Portal artist and Trent alumnus, David James. “There is not a public sculpture exhibit that parallels this one at any other university in Canada."
Following the presentations, guests joined the walking tour to view the following sculptures. The walking tour is also available online:
This Column Ends
This vibrant indigo blue sculpture, on display just inside the entrance of Trent University’s Symons Campus, was the first to be unveiled as part of the PSI and features 14 painted disk-shaped modules forming a tower. The piece by artist Shayne Dark highlights the contrast between industrial materials and the natural landscape and is a tribute to Brancusi’s Endless Column. Heritage Canada certifies This Column Ends as a designated work of Outstanding Significance and National Importance.
Representing grit, determination and a commitment to personal excellence, this striking sculpture features the strained body of a muscular rower leaning over his oars to propel himself toward his destination, representing the passion of rowing and of personal wayfinding. The sculpture, made of bronze, stainless steel and weathering steel is by esteemed artist David Robinson and sits next to the Athletics Centre on the banks of the Otonabee River.
La Porte D’Or
This sculpture by award-winning Quebec artist André Fournelle incorporates steel, glass, anthracite charcoal and gold leaf while exploring coal as a metaphor. Coal comes from ancient trees, leaves and vegetation and, with time and compression, the vegetal changes to mineral, in a process of transmutation. The sculpture, located in the Bata Library, is also about the age of coal and the way it has brought us to where we are today - we are walking through that door to a new age which isn’t yet determined and is in that sense an open door.
This bronze sculpture bust of former Trent chancellor and prolific Canadian author Margaret Laurence sits on a marble base and wooden stand. The sculpture by artist Almuth Lütkenhaus has been on display in Trent’s Bata Library since October 1984.
Two sculptures unveiled in 2012 by artist David James ’68 – whose work has received international recognition – share the same form with contrasting grandeur. The impressive 8,000-pound outdoor sculpture sits on the west bank of Symons Campus on the slope between Chemical Sciences Building and Gzowski College, overlooking the Otonabee River. The piece is carved from Belfast Black granite from South Africa and measures six feet (1.8 metres) high and long. The smaller indoor piece is a cast-glass sculpture made of high-lead topaz coloured crystal and is displayed in Bata Library.
Inuksuk was created by Angaangaq Lyberth, a Kalaallit Inuk from Greenland, who used specially selected local stone to build the sculpture during his time as a visiting lecturer in 1998. It sits in the Warren Garden (across the river from the Bata Library) where the inaugural meeting of what would become the Inuit Tapirisat occurred on February 21, 1971. Its plaque honours Trent University’s longstanding commitment and support of all circumpolar peoples.
This work of art in the Warren Garden, created by renowned Canadian sculptors Ron and Lynda Baird, is a permanent commemorative record of Margery Warren who was an early childhood educator and longtime supporter of many educational initiatives. The Bairds created this garden sculpture using laser-cut brushed stainless steel and illuminated it from within. This work was donated in 2006 as part of the Margery J. Warren Estate, which supported the creation of the Warren Garden.
House of Sticks
This sculpture, by artist Peter Powning and displayed at Otonabee College, is made from glass, copper, Corten steel, cast bronze and granite. Beyond mastering time-honoured sculpture techniques and materials, Powning is an acknowledged innovator in craft processes and the execution of form. While the arc of his visual language can be read from his early 1970s stoneware through to the radical fusions and huge sculptures of today, the sheer extent of his experimentation and aesthetic daring is staggering.
The Parting of the Waters
This sculpture is by renowned artist Cecil Richards who initiated the sculpture department at the University of Manitoba, taught at the University of British Columbia and retired in the Peterborough area, eventually forging a strong relationship with Trent University. In the mid-1970s the artist held an exhibit at Trent's Mackenzie Gallery. The Parting of the Waters was donated to the University by Jean Nind, a renowned artist and longtime supporter of the University and her husband Tom Nind, president of Trent University 1970-1979.
Renowned artist Claude Millette, whose work has been shown across the globe, revealed his donated sculpture Corphéum XIII in 2019. The sculpture is made of Corten steel and is situated in the Ward Garden. Millette has created more than 40 public artworks that are displayed in Quebec, Russia, France, Costa Rica and Mexico. Several museums including Musee d’Art Contemporain de Montreal and Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec have acquired his work.
Trent’s PSI is generously supported by David James ’68 and his wife Lili de Grandpré, the Jalynn H. Bennett Foundation legacy gift, and other generous donors. Anyone wishing to support Trent’s Public Sculpture Initiative and collection can donate online. Learn more about the collection on the PSI website.