Art in Public Space
As part of our ongoing collaboration on community engagement in east Hamilton, Red Tree Artists’ Collective, The Hamilton Dialogues and Pipeline Trail Hamilton are excited to present the project “Trail Mix Museum.” The multi-disciplinary installation of contemporary and historical visual art, and dubpoetry, follows the inaugural “Mural Trail Head” presentation of labour artist and activist Leonard Hutchinson’s “Webster’s Falls,” as well as youth art and community collaborations along the Pipeline Trail, and the 2020 temporary art installation series “The Last Days of Ice and Snow.”
For the outdoor mural presentation, the original artworks on paper were enlarged, printed in vinyl and mounted on durable panels to be attached to fences and outbuildings lining the trail. The idea of museum quality art in public space was motivated in part by COVID-19 closures of galleries and museums, and in part by the fact that the lower city’s east end neighbourhood is not well served by any of Hamilton’s cultural institutions.
Imagery presented along the trail establishes connections to the industrial and ecological history of the 6 km pipeline that has carried clean water to the City of Hamilton underneath the trail since 1859. Over the years, industry and property owners have encroached on the park land, and in 2015 Hamilton published a “Pipeline Trail Master Plan.” At present, a number of properties still have garages facing the trail, and cars frequently drive over it at intersections with laneways. Though not literally “environmental” in content or media, the pieces on exhibition reference water, land, people and the environments they built.
The exhibition takes place on the lands of the Haudenosaunee, Mississauga, Wendat and Neutral People (Attawandaron) under the Dish with One Spoon Treaty.
Works Presented on the Trail
Shelley Niro: Resting with Warriors (Spirit), 2002, woodcut (original size 3’ x 6’)
While reflecting on the War of 1812, Shelley could not help but to think of all the women who were left behind by the Haudenosaunee warriors. Niro surmised that the women would have needed specific skills to survive and sustain their villages while the men were away. The female figure (one of 4 from the series “Resting with Warriors”) carries the word “Spirit” on her belt; she is the glue that binds the community together as evoked by the shawl and her outstretched arms.
Delio Delgado: untitled (giraffe), 2019, serigraph (original size 76 cm x 56.6 cm)
Much of Delgado’s work addresses his experience of migrating from the Dominican Republic to Canada. He incorporates found and hand drawn imagery to create prints that explore notions of place and migration. His formal compositional style is influenced by collage and numerical calculations. Recent paintings resonate with his physical and emotional struggle during the pandemic.
Dámarys Sepúlveda: Lava II, 2021, linocut (original size 7” x 5”)
Dámarys Sepúlveda’s current body of prints is a representation of active and dormant volcanoes from different regions. She uses the paradox of volcanic eruptions as both life-giving and destructive to evoke reflections on migration, natural disasters, and human resilience against climate change, political upheavals, and relocation. The imagery explores the way disasters contribute to ever-changing social / natural landscapes and build human resilience. Sudden volcanic or political eruptions create chaos and displacement, but may also bring change and new life. On Ometepe Island, in the artist’s native Nicaragua, there is a saying: “volcanic ashes bring good crops.”
Leonard Hutchinson: Builders of Roads, 1935, woodcut (original size 8” x 10”), courtesy of Lynn Hutchinson Lee
Born in 1896, in Manchester, England, Leonard Hutchinson emigrated to Canada in 1912 with his mother and siblings. In the 1920s, he began sketching workers in southwestern Ontario. Recognized as a labour artist and activist, Hutchinson helped organize an artists’ union in Hamilton. Webster’s Falls was created in 1934 during Hutchinson’s time as an art teacher with the Hamilton Technical Institute. Two years later, in 1936, he was appointed curator to the Art Gallery of Hamilton.
Coming from an impoverished Romani family of entertainers and tobacco pickers, Leonard Hutchinson held a deep and lifelong commitment to social justice and human rights. His own experiences inspired him to portray the lives of the people of southern Ontario and the tobacco belt – workers, farmers, the unemployed – through woodcuts, lino block prints, and photography.
Creative Commons Wall:
Nathan Eugene Carson (visual artist): untitled, 2022, mixed media
Klyde Broox (dubpoet): echo-mirror, 2022, mixed media
Youth Mural led by Klyde Broox and Nathan Carson in collaboration with Afro-Canadian Caribbean Association (ACCA): See What We Are Saying Here, 2022, mixed media
See What We Are Saying Here is a mixed media collaboration between visual artist Nathan Carson, poet Klyde Broox and 20+ youth, mostly from Hamilton’s Afro Canadian Caribbean Association (ACCA). This piece suggests possibilities for creative and supportive interplay between persons and places, while portraying the written word as an echo of the spoken word. Nathan and Klyde guided participants through an online process which blended analog and digital techniques to read images as text and treat texts as images. This artwork illustrates connections between drawing and writing, it embodies ideas about “painting” scenes with words, and approaches the paintbrush as a pen; cursor as scissors or chisel; poetry as verbal painting; and drawing, painting, sculpting as storytelling.
Nathan Carson does art to “express what he feels “is important within the world for myself and future generations”. He welcomed the “opportunity to grow as an artist and work within a collective”. Klyde Broox wishes that viewers appreciate how “this piece shows that the creativity of humanity can be sustainably integrated with ecological beauty”. He says that “the shared objective of our ad hoc online creative collective is to cause you to pause and enjoy the natural artistry of the scenery”. Space is left deliberately blank to invite art from viewers, especially youth, who also wish to express their creativity here. The available space will be cleared annually to allow for ongoing creative viewer input.
The pathway project is focused around the details in life that is lived by all the different walks of life. I decided to do this project to encourage anyone that walks on the Pipeline Trail to stop and stare at beautiful work by myself, Klyde Broox and the many children that have added to this project. I started noticing the world around me in 2020, 2021 and 2022 and decided I would like to capture it in all its beauty on these 9 art boards that will be placed along the path. I use drawing, painting and text as a creative outlet in my life and to teach others about life. I am using this project to express what I feel is important within the world for myself and future generations that will enjoy the art on the Pipeline Trail.
This project grew out of noticing fine details that the children and Klyde created through workshops and discussions. By using their text, drawings and discussions I was able to be inspired to create these works. It also developed out of my paintings that I did last year based around gender, and race. I used it as an opportunity to grow as an artist and work within a collective.
Klyde Broox: “I write with my voice…” Jamaican born and groomed dubpoet, Klyde Broox has been based in Hamilton, Ontario, since the 1990s. Klyde is internationally recognized for “a socially-instrumental artistic practice informed by principles of community engagement and popular education.” Since the 1980s, Broox has done numerous international readings, workshops, and guest lectures. His writing has been published in various anthologies, reviews, journals and books.
Nathan Eugene Carson, BFA OCAD, lives and works in Hamilton. His drawings and paintings have been shown at Verso Gallery, Lennox Contemporary, Gallery One (Toronto), and at Oswald Gallery and Carnegie Gallery (Hamilton). Carson’s work was featured at the AGO First Thursdays, with the RBC Emerging Artists Projects and StreetARToronto. Recent exhibitions include a major solo project at the Power Plant, and an installation at the Art Gallery of Hamilton.
Delio Delgado holds degrees from the National School of Visual Arts and Altos de Chavon School of Design in the Dominican Republic. His paintings, prints and installations have been exhibited in Canada and abroad. “The Poetry of Travel” was created as part of an exchange with Cuban artists and has since been shown in Hamilton, Toronto and Wichita, Kansas. His recent exhibition at You Me Gallery in Hamilton was reviewed by Regina Haggo, and by Carlos Francisco Elías.
Leonard Hutchinson was born in England in 1896 to Romani traveller Lizzie Lee who brought her family to Tillsonburg, Ontario, in 1907. In the early 1920’s Hutchinson began sketching workers in the tobacco fields of southwestern Ontario, and studied at the Hamilton Technical Institute. His work is represented in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada; Art Gallery of Hamilton; Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives; Workers Arts and Heritage Centre (Hamilton); New York Public Library; Art Gallery of Ontario.
Shelley Niro, OCA graduate, MFA (University of Western Ontario) member of the Six Nations, Bay of Quinte Mohawk Turtle Clan, is an award winning multimedia artist. Her numerous awards include the Governor General’s, Scotiabank Photography, Hnatyshyn Foundation. Niro was the inaugural recipient of the Ontario Arts Council’s Aboriginal Arts Award. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including the 2003 Venice Biennale, and is represented in major museum collections.
Dámarys Sepúlveda is a graduate of the Nicaraguan Fine Arts Academy with a Visual Art Diploma. She participated in artists’ residencies in L’arc Children’s Art School, Barcelona, Spain, and at York University’s Print Studio (Toronto, ON) with Professor Eugenio Tellez. Her paintings and prints have been exhibited in Nicaragua, Barcelona, Toronto, Vancouver, Mexico and Hamilton, Ontario. Dámarys is a teacher, community arts practitioner, and an advocate of Art for Social Change.
We acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. Nous reconnaissons l’appui du gouvernement du Canada à travers l’Agence fédérale de développement économique pour le Sud de l’Ontario.