November 2017: Dave Hind 

November’s Featured Artist is Dave Hind. For the past two decades, Brantford-based artist Hind has been using recycled, salvaged, and found materials to create functional objects, musical instruments, sculptures, aluminum paintings, and small shelters. He excels at working collaboratively with family, friends, community groups, students, and his fellow artists. Earlier this year, Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant issued a call for artists; a jury made up of community members chose Hind’s proposal for the Lawren Harris Public Art Project from 21 entries received across North America. His proposal was chosen because it not only represented the impact of Lawren Harris on Canadian art history, but also celebrated the Canadian landscape and the people of Brantford who have helped to shape our community.

Hind, at the unveiling of the piece on October 23, noted that “the idea of competing against my fellow artists did not sit well with me, so when my proposal was accepted, I wanted to open this project up and involve as many of my friends and as much of the art community as I could.” Hind brought together a team of artists, including Jason Dong, Thomas Anderson, Bonnie Whitlow, Ralph Heather, Shana Elijah, Daniel Hill, Arlene Laskey, Steph Jacobs, Andrea Flockhart, plus many more artists and participants from the community.

The final piece, called La Landscape de Kanata, is fifteen feet square and made of salvaged aluminum and paint. It is installed on the west wall of the Brantford Public Library in downtown Brantford, and was unveiled to a crowd of over 160 people on the inaugural Lawren Harris Day – October 23, 2017. Two of Lawren Harris’ grandchildren travelled from British Columbia to attend the unveiling and meet Hind and the other artists involved.

The image really needs to be seen in person to be fully appreciated; take a trip downtown and spend some time with it, and seek to learn more about the individuals depicted. From left to right around the “fire” in Mohawk Park are: Deskaheh (by Thomas Anderson); Ignatius Cockshutt (by Ralph Heather); Arlene Laskey (by Dave Hind, Arlene Laskey, and Andrea Flockhart); Lawren Harris (by Jason Dong); “She is All of Us” based on a photograph of Amanda Polchies by Ossie Michelin (by Bonnie Whitlow); Pauline Johnson (by Daniel Hill); and a portrait by Shana Elijah of her son, to represent the children and their connection to the land.

Hind, a self-proclaimed “tree hugger,” calls it a “positive, real, unified message of hope and commitment to a healthy natural environment.” Of the piece, he had the following statement to share:

“Lawren Harris and the Group of Seven’s paintings of the north are synonymous with what it means to be Canadian. “La Landscape de Kanata” uses this relationship as a starting point to celebrate Lawren Harris’ life and work, his hometown of Brantford, and the importance of the “Land” to the diverse groups of people that call this place home. In this piece we have tried to bring these histories together, in a contemporary context, one that broadens the scope of the connection between the landscape and our evolving Canadian identity.

In the spirit of community and collaboration, this project set out to share the public commission with as many people as possible. It features a portrait of Lawren Harris by Jason Dong amidst a symbolic group of seven, where each figure was conceived and created by a different local artist. Each artist decided who their figure would be, basing that choice on the story of Lawren Harris, the histories of Brantford and/or Canada, and our connections to the natural environment. In doing so, the “group gathered around the fire” illustrates a diverse cross-section of the people and cultures that call this place home.

Lawren Harris’ contribution to Canadian culture speaks to the reverence of the natural landscape that he loved, an appreciation shared by all those who have inhabited and experienced it, past and present.”