After three years of secrecy, the Kelowna Art Gallery unveiled its latest project Wednesday morning (Oct. 27) — a public art sculpture standing 25 feet tall outside of the gallery’s entrance.
Canadian artist Jed Lind’s Gold, Silver & Lead art piece is located at the corner of Water Street and Cawston Avenue and consists of seven sculptural vehicles — all modelled after the 1979 Honda Civic — stacked on top of one another.
“Our hope is that it will become a landmark within the downtown public space and that it will stimulate lively conversations about the visual arts in our community,” said Nataley Nagy, the Kelowna Art Gallery’s executive director.
Originally presented at the Toronto Sculpture Garden’s 30th-anniversary exhibit in 2011, the sculpture was donated to the Kelowna Art Gallery in 2019. In the piece, the cars deteriorate and disassemble as they climb up the sculpture.
“Like a stack of stones marking a trail, it represents a fork in the road where humanity could’ve chosen a simpler existence, yet here we are today,” said Lind.
Lind said he got the idea for the sculpture over a decade ago when he stumbled across an old print ad that featured American architect Buckminister Fuller standing in front of a white geodesic dome and a white 1979 Honda Civic, with a tagline that read, “The man who simplified housing bought a Honda Civic. We make it simple.”
“It is a quintessentially American idea that the automobile as the embodiment of freedom, power and escape,” said Lind. “The Honda Civic became popular in America after the 1973 oil crisis when the idea that resources were finite became to take root in the culture.”
He added that he hopes that the sculpture will further conversations about the environment, consumption and collective responsibility.
“Amidst the social and cultural awakening, and the material shortages that we now face, I hope that some viewers see the piece as a reminder that our resources are not infinite, nor are our emotions,” he said.