Public Art in Back Spaces



I’m seeing things in Ottawa I have never seen before. Like this statue.

A good chunk of my time these days is being spent in the Byward Market area of the city, not far from Parliament Hill. Despite working (and living) downtown for close to 20 years, I really don’t know the neighbourhood.

What was once a rather seedy area is now an upscale shopping district with historic buildings. Gone are the strip joints. The bars are much more upscale. New restaurants abound. This is where the cool people hang out, and I’ve never been one of those.

Each day I’ve been varying my route a little, trying a different street as I walk to my destination. Each day I discover something new, and occasionally  pick up some historical tidbits I didn’t know before.IMG_20190918_1127460

I had never seen “Our Shepherds,” by Montreal Artist Patrick Berubé  until this week. The statue is tucked away in a courtyard I’d never checked out before. You would think I would have noticed the bright blue from the street, but who looks down alleys? It may only be on temporary exhibit, so maybe I shouldn’t be faulted for failing to see it before.

If you are looking for meaning, you could consider the shepherds as leaders and the sheep as the rest of us. The Pinocchio nose shows what we think of leaders. Or so the description posted near the statue said, admitting that much of the sculpture’s message is open to interpretation.

Sometimes though you don’t want meaning, you just want to enjoy. If that is how you feel today, here’s a sculpture from a few blocks away. It’s a dancing bear, and as far as I can tell that is all it is.


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