Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Archambault sculpture garden

'The Family'    ( with Parliament Hill in the background across the Ottawa River )

In the three years that we've lived here in the National Capital region ( Ottawa/Gatineau) one of the great joys has been to re-discover the joys of living in a city with many fantastic museums.  Our family has a joint membership to the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian War Museum.  Both are fabulous - and the membership gives us free access to the special shows at the Museum of Civilization - most recently, a show about design in Japan.  The War Museum also has special shows, most recently, War and Medicine, which was grisly but fascinating.  There is also a  permanent exhibit at the Museum of Civilization which has become very dear to me.  Part of my everyday life, you might say....

This region is also known for its amazing bike paths (not beside/on main roads, although there are bike lanes there too..) which wind for hundreds of kilometers through park land with 2 perfectly paved lanes.  Great for going fast, although the  speed limit is 20 kph!  In trying to keep healthy this past summer, I devised a circle starting and ending at my house of 20 kilometers which took me down to the Ottawa river, along the river front past the Museum of Civilization and then returning home.  (All downhill to the river and all slogging home...)  And another big reason for this route was so that I could stop and have a drink of water at the Archambault sculpture garden, look at the river and the endless people flowing by, and finally to stare at these wonderful sculptures.

the view of the the whole, nestled between 2 wings of the Museum.

The sculptor Louis Archambault was originally commissioned to make this grouping for Expo 67  in Montreal, and they were enjoyed by millions of people who visited this fantastic event that was held to celebrate Canada's 100th birthday (1867-1967). This could account for why I find these figures to be so comforting and familiar.  I visited Expo 67 with my family for 2 weeks that summer - I was 10.  It made a huge impression on me.  After seeing this fair, I believed I knew what the future held for Canada, the world ( and probably me personally...) - all was fun, invention, joy and optimism.  Ah, the future beckoned in the most seductive way in the 60ties and all was considered possible!  Do young people feel that way now?  I'm not so sure that their hope has not been erased by cynicism about almost everything.  But I hope some do feel as full of possibilites as I did that summer so long ago.

'Pregnant woman' with 'Poet' in the backgound

'The Poet'

'The Moon'

'The  Philosopher'  ( with the federal government intruding again at the side...)

Three children (with a view of the fabulous curvy shape of the the Museum)

'The Angel' with the one whose name escapes me....(behind)

'The Sun'
 Just looking at these shapes clears my head and helps me find new ideas.  Of course, this is seriously helped by the effort/exercise involved in riding my bike.  New beads down the line, I'm sure, once they have percolated through my thought process.  Could take months.....

Do visit this gem if you are ever in Ottawa...but remember, you have to cross the river to Quebec to see it!

'The family', detail of top


coffeeaddict said...

The optimism is long gone. So is a sense of community and joy over anything not related to materialism. I could go on.
The sculptures are fascinating! Thanks for this vonderful post :-)

Genevieve said...

I love the sculptures! They look like cut paper...in giant form!

Stories They Tell said...

Claire, what a great photo-essay! I could happily reflect on these sculptures every day. The forms are so pure and yet quirky and imaginative. I can definitely see ideas for beads in these. Thanks for sharing!