Big changes have been taking shape on Redeemer’s campus over the last year. With the construction of the Charis Live and Learn Centre have come newly paved parking lots, new paths and fresh landscaping throughout the heart of campus. The green space to the west of the Charis Centre will also be highlighted by a new art installation called The Path.
“For some, The Path may be a taking up of the journey; for others, it may be a response to a call,” said the artwork’s creators Veronica de Nogales and Edwin Dam in their proposal. “At times, we are focused on intellectual pursuits, while juggling a host of new emotions. At other times, students may feel that they are simply fumbling through much of life. We can reflect on David’s words of Psalm 17:5: ‘My steps have held to your paths, my feet have not stumbled.’”
For some, The Path may be a taking up of the journey; for others, it may be a response to a call.
The husband and wife artist duo designed The Path like a long wavy line, with a series of curved peaks and valleys of descending heights and a long horizontal straight edge cutting through the peaks and valleys. The straight edge is positioned to draw in viewers, inviting them to sit and become the missing element in the artwork.
“While a good number of our previous works include a figurative element combined with the abstract or the representational, The Path, by excluding a figurative element, automatically draws the viewer in as the missing element, empowering the desire to enter, peruse and explore,” de Nogales and Dam explain.
Public art has the ability to add meaning to spaces. It can create a sense of place and allow a community to exhibit and inhabit its uniqueness. The art display committee reports that as Redeemer grows and changes with an increasing student body, a new multi-use building, a re-envisioned campus master plan and the rebranding of the institution, public art can play a critical role in shaping Redeemer’s unfolding identity, helping the university express its values clearly and poetically. The concept of public art fits seamlessly with Redeemer’s holistic approach to life and learning, reflecting the reign of God in every aspect of life. The pragmatic aspects of an efficient and effective campus space are coupled with the desire for beauty, and feeling the specific quality of a shared place. The new artwork will mark Redeemer as a place of embodied, bold and generous expressions of faith.
Redeemer put out a call to artists last spring. A selection committee made up of faculty and staff then interviewed four talented artists to learn more about their work generally and their understanding of Redeemer’s Reformed Christian mission. Based on the interviews, the committee selected Dam and de Nogales as the artists and later approved the proposal for The Path as the artwork.
“The selection committee appreciated the way de Nogales and Dam thought about the Redeemer community as both a faith community and an educational community, as well as their interest in speaking to the faith- and-life situation of the students in their contemporary world,” said Dr. Karen Dieleman, selection committee chair and interim associate vice president and dean, academic.
The Path will be constructed of corten steel and will have a significant presence at over three metres high and six metres long. Installation of the artwork is expected to be complete by late spring.