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Public Artwork Explores Theme of Democracy

Date uploaded: June 20, 2012

Public Artwork Explores Theme of Democracy

Surrey’s latest public art display, being created for the City Hall, features a sculpture inspired by the theme of democracy. The artwork titled, What We Can’t Do Alone, We Can Achieve Together is being created by Studio Roso, an international team of artists.

“This important artwork will serve as a symbol for Surrey’s commitment to community, collaboration and the values of democracy,” says Mayor Dianne Watts.

The artwork will be suspended from the roof of the building’s six story atrium. Within the atrium’s glass walls and skylights, the flock of birds will appear to be flying through the building. At night, a special lighting system will add to the effect of the sculpture’s dynamic movement. The sculpture will measure over 20 metres long, and almost as high.

“We hope the artwork reflects the inclusive and welcoming nature of Surrey, and furthers our City as a model for public space design,” says Watts. She adds that: “many people who have seen the artwork drawings have commented that the image of flying birds is an international symbol of freedom.”Sophie Nielsen and Rolf Knudsen, the Studio Roso lead artists, were inspired by the behaviour of animals, who work collectively to ensure their survival. “Democracy can be interpreted as the power of many. What is hard for a single individual to accomplish can be achieved as a group – the power of numbers. It is also the notion of caring – thinking of your fellow man and standing together. As a way of conveying the brief theme of “Democracy” we have worked with a conceptual analogy of democracy – a flock of birds,” says Nielsen and Knudsen.

“This artwork is an outcome of an international call to artists issued by the City leading to portfolio submissions from 158 qualified artists”, said Councillor Judy Villeneuve, Chair of the Public Art Advisory Committee. “Our Committee was impressed by the quality of the submissions and look forward to seeing this spectacular sculpture come to life in our new landmark City Hall facility”.

Prior to choosing the submission from Studio Roso, the City’s Public Art Advisory Committee shortlisted five artists from Canada, the US and England requesting proposals for the site. The artwork is expected to be fabricated in Canada and will be completed by Fall 2013.

The City’s public art collection includes 55 projects, located in civic parks and buildings in all of Surrey’s town centres. These artworks have been created in a range of materials from carved stone and bronze sculptures, to interactive sculptures, illuminated overpasses, and collaborative community art projects such as mosaics.

For more information on Surrey’s public art collection, visit: www.surrey.ca/arts