Discover Saint John and the Province of New Brunswick Fund Public Art Initiative in partnership with the Province of New Brunswick have announced ‘Salmon Run’, a project that is creating art, supporting artists and raising funds for the InterAction School of Performing Arts in Saint John.
Ten giant fibreglass salmon sculptures have been created by local artist John Morgan to “create an urban kaleidoscope.” Standing at more than six feet tall when mounted on their aluminum stands, the salmon are more than just sculptures: they also act as canvases. Seven Saint John artists have taken to decorating the salmon in their own particular styles.
As a project for Canada 150, the artwork is intended to represent Canadian Heritage, New Brunswick waterways and the future of Canada, says Discover Saint John director Victoria Clarke.
“The goal is to engage our community through meaningful experiences that celebrate our heritage, create strong connections and inspire lasting legacies towards an exciting future,” says Clarke. “We look forward to enjoying this vibrant art installation with our local community and visitors alike.”
Local artists were invited to submit designs, with the winning designs being awarded $2000 to invest toward the creation of their artwork. Since then, Brunswick Square has been acting as an open studio where the public have been able to watch the artists work. Now completed, the artworks will be getting temporary homes, where they will be placed on display for viewing until the end of 2017, complete with a ‘Salmon Run’ walking tour app (on Android and iOS) to guide them.
The seven artists chosen to create the works are Deanna Musgrave with her two pieces on New Brunswick Waterways, Lisa-Ann Scichilone with ‘River To The Sea,’ Jean Hudson with her two pieces titled ‘Wild Salmon Waterways’ and ‘Mermon,’ Geordan Moore with ‘Sunset On The Kennebecasis,’ Jack Hudson with ‘Maple Glazed Salmon’ and ‘Ringy Dingy Salmon,’ Peggy Wolsey with ‘Infinite Cycle Waterways’ and Holly McKay’s ‘Flags Together’.
Ultimately, the pieces will be auctioned off and moved to permanent locations with proceeds being split between the InterAction School Of Performing Arts and the artists.
“The red/pink aspect of the salmon references the colour associated with the interior of the fish. [Farmed salmon] has a different pink colour than wild salmon and studies have shown that certain brands of farmed salmon actually create an insulin response in mice, which supports the possibility that consuming it might contribute to obesity and diabetes in humans,” says Musgrave.
Musgrave says that she also hopes people will be more aware of the ethics and impacts of farmed salmon and the age-old adage, “You are what you eat.” Her second piece, ‘Gold Fish,’ is an attempt to change the way viewers see the first. Referencing many depictions of medieval saints, Musgrave juxtaposes blues and golds in an effort to “elevate the fish to a divine status [in hopes that] the viewer will take more consideration into how farmed salmon are treated.”
Concern for the salmon, whether wild or farmed, became a recurring theme. With Lisa-Ann Scichilone’s piece ‘River To The Sea’, the salmon’s journey is documented across its form, and while beautiful, Scichilone made sure not to neglect the salmon’s struggles.
“My salmon started out showing the journey traveled from river to ocean from the tip of his tail to the top of his head. The elements that the salmon encounters along the way are depicted in a fluid bright cheerful manor,” says Scichilone.
“But on second glance you might begin to notice some of the struggles they face: commercial fishing, pollution, parasites and warming waters. I wanted to give Saint John and its visitors something wonderful to look at and enjoy. I also wanted to express my concern for these marvellous creatures and for all of our Canadian wildlife. They deserve our attention, concern and respect.”
Details on the ‘Salmon Run’ auction have yet to be announced, but the artwork will be on display until December 31st, 2017.