Published April 19, 2018
TORONTO – The Bentway presents “A Forest of Canoes” by Dana Claxton, a site-specific installation co-commissioned with Scotiabank will open Friday, April 27 and will be on display through the spring and summer at The Bentway Skate Trail.
Vancouver-based artist Dana Claxton (Lakota Sioux) considers the iconic role and symbolism of the canoe in Canadian, Métis, and Indigenous histories. Claxton works with photographs sourced from the Internet, adding layers of colour and graphic treatments for a Pop Art aesthetic.
“A Forest of Canoes” (2018) is presented as a series of 16-foot tall murals adhered to the columnar bents supporting the Gardiner Expressway. Claxton’s installation creates a forest of canoes, amidst the surrounding forest of high rises, to wander among and consider the layered narratives of The Bentway site.
“From traditional imagery of birch bark canoes to contemporary leisure vessels, Dana Claxton’s hyper-saturated depictions describe both digital and physical modes of travel, setting the stage for a dialogue between past and present,” explains Ilana Altman, Director of Programming for The Bentway. “It is important to me that The Bentway, which is located on the Treaty lands of the Mississaugas of the New Credit and the traditional territory of many other Indigenous nations, and which follows the original shoreline of Lake Ontario, participate in and stimulate those conversations.”
While construction continues towards the completion of phase one, The Bentway has exciting plans for spring and summer pop-up programming. “A Forest of Canoes” will be featured in the Public Installation Bike Tour on May 26, (11am-1pm); The Bentway and Fort York National Historic Site are both participating in the 19th annual Doors Open Toronto on May 26 and 27; and The Bentway will participate in the Indigenous Arts Festival, produced by the City of Toronto and hosted by Fort York National Historic Site, June 21-24. More programming will be announced for spring and summer including the official opening of the Strachan Gate in August and the launch of the fall season.