Pillars of Humanity art installation to be replaced at Genesis Centre

Public consultation already underway for the new project

Spring Blooming. One of the four Pillars of Humanity sculptures that are being removed to make way for the Loop project. PHOTO/ETHAN WARD FOR LIVEWIRE

Pillars are going to be coming down at the Genesis Centre as the Pillars of Humanity art installation nears the end of its life cycle.

The new art monument planned to be built at the northeast Calgary rec facility next year hopes to set a more welcoming precedent for everyone who visits the center.

The new endeavour has been dubbed the Loop project. It’s meant to represent people of all walks of life who visit the Genesis centre, said Noor Sayadi, community arts facilitator at Antyx Art.

“We are trying to have a very involved research process this time. Last time on Pillars of Humanity, it was more about the youth in the community and their ideas, the concepts they wanted to put forward,” Sayadi said.

“This time, we found that we wanted to have a wider scope, making sure everyone that uses the Genesis centre feels included and represented through the new work.”

Pillars removal

Although the current art installation will be missed, its life cycle has come to an end. Art is often seen as permanent and meant to stand the test of time. However, Sayadi said that the Pillars of Humanity was a low-budget installation that wasn’t meant to last forever. The sculptures themselves are already starting to suffer from sun damage after a year.

“For funding on that project, we only had access to enough funds to make use of basic crafting materials. It can’t be permanent because it’s made of paper and cotton. Although, that did make it very accessible for youth to work with. Still, it’s not fit to be a permanent feature,” Sayadi said.

Indigenous involvement

The new art installation is also giving a chance for certain groups to have their voices heard. A major part of the community engagement that will be happening over the summer involves land teaching events.

Community members and those involved in making the art will have a chance to understand the Indigenous perspective and how the land the Genesis Centre rests on will play into the creation of the Loop.

“We are planning on using materials from the land, which we are aiming to do respectfully, and that means we engage with the Indigenous community throughout that process. Our aim is to create a space for true Canadian integration. This means interacting with Indigenous peoples, settlers, and immigrants. People of all ages, learning about the land we live on, so we feel like we belong here,” Sayadi said.

“We want to exchange our cultures, our food, our stories, and try to find the commonalities between us.”

This is a dramatic change from the original Pillars instillation. The more all-encompassing nature is meant to set the Loop apart from past art projects.

Exterior of the Genesis Centre. Two of the four Pillars of Humanity can be seen from this point. ETHAN WARD FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Importance to the Genesis Centre

Jonah Ardiel, business development manager at the Genesis Centre, said that this undertaking aligns perfectly with the centre’s goals.

“With things like an art display in the main lobby of our facility, we want it to be representative of the community we belong to. Antyx is a really good partner for that because their mission is so similar to ours, Ardiel said.

“The permanent art display that Antyx is working on will be a display of the community’s interests.”

The community consultation and land teachings are set to begin this summer as the project enters its visioning stage. Prominent voices will include Blackfoot Elder Pablo Russell.

This is part of the effort to teach participants about the land they are on. That knowledge will feedback into the art that is eventually born out of the Loop project.

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