Transformational encounter

E_p12_street_photoTwo worlds are meeting here: one from BC and one from Brazil. Both represent transformations; both are totems of a kind.

On the left is the work of Clarence Mills, an accomplished artist from Haida Gwaii, known both locally and internationally. He is a traditionally trained carver and a member of the Eagle Clan, taking the Split Raven and Grizzly Bear as his crests. He produces carvings in wood, ivory and argillite as well as engraved jewelry and serigraph prints. One of his totem poles was commissioned for the Louvre in Paris.

In the photo is a Haida Bear and Eagle totem carved out of an 800-year-old red cedar that fell during the Stanley Park windstorm of 2006, representing a transformation of destruction into art.

Mills’ work is beside Ocean Concrete on Granville Island. The “totem” on the right of the picture is one of six silos belonging to Ocean Concrete that have been painted by contemporary artists Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo, two Brazilian brothers, identical twins that go by the Portuguese name: Os Gemeos –

The Twins. They are well known internationally and have worked with the Tate Modern in London and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

Their current work is part of a global series called “Giants” and Vancouver has the only one in 3-D. The Twins paint deeply from their inner world, which being identical twins, they claim they share; always knowing what the other is dreaming, thinking, completing each other’s thoughts. They feel their work is deeply spiritual. Their mission is to transform public space and present uplifting images to people. The prominent colour of yellow in their works plays an important role in sending a positive message.

Indeed their message stands out, the Giants’ mural being 23 metres tall and all six silos covering a space of 7,200 square metres. Their choice of Ocean Concrete couldn’t be more impressive; it will be seen by the thousands who flock to Granville Island and can also be viewed from across the other side of False Creek.

Ocean Concrete is one of Granville Island’s oldest tenants, having been there since 1917. It is a great supporter of the arts, as can be witnessed by the colourful transformation of its cement mixers, which have been painted at times with giant asparagus and colourful suns. They often have art installations out front and hold annual open houses.

Giants is part of Vancouver’s 2014-2016 Biennale, a non-profit charitable organization which supports art in public places for the enjoyment of all. The current theme is Open Borders/Crossroads Vancouver “where artists from all nations, cultural backgrounds, political histories and artistic disciplines gather to celebrate art in public space. Together we inspire creativity, transform thinking and find our interconnectedness as global citizens through art.” It features diverse works by both breakthrough and established artists, and hosts six supporting public programs.

For more information:

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