New work of art installed at Mount Carleton Lodge08 October 2020
FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Place We Gather, a work of art created by Indigenous artists Charlie Gaffney and Brandon Mitchell, was recently installed at the new Mount Carleton Lodge in keeping with the New Brunswick Public Art Policy.
“I am so happy that the provincial government is supporting New Brunswick artists, particularly from Aboriginal communities, through the Public Art Policy in order to reflect our diverse cultural heritage,” said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister Tammy Scott-Wallace.
Established in 2018, the policy ensures that a percentage of the construction budget for all new provincial government building projects is allocated towards the commission of public art for the new building.
To date, two schools have benefited from the policy and two more schools will have public art elements included in their facilities. The lodge at Mount Carleton is the first new building in a provincial park to have an art piece commissioned and installed.
In the fall of 2019, the department issued a call for proposals from Indigenous artists for the creation of a public art piece with a budget of $31,500. Several artists submitted proposals and the team of Gaffney and Mitchell were selected.
Gaffney is a Wolastoqiyik visual artist and educator who has been wood carving since 1988. He was originally taught by master carver Ned Bear. Mitchell is a Mi’gmaq visual artist and writer and is the founder of Birch Bark Comics and creator of the Sacred Circles comic series.
The two artists collaborated on the design and production of a large wood piece featuring 16 paddles carved and painted to showcase Mi’gmaq and Wolastoqiyik imagery and hieroglyphs telling the story of Mount Carleton. The piece also incorporates a wooden depiction of the Sun, Mount Carleton, a Wolastoqiyik canoe, a Mi’gmaq canoe, and the Tobique and Nepisiguit rivers.
“This art piece highlights the cultural, historical and traditional significance of Sagamook Peak in the traditional territory of the Mi’gmaq and Wolastoqiyik,” said Gaffney. “This gathering place is connected by Tobique River and Nepisiguit River.”
“The inspiration for the piece was to combine traditional forms with modern media styles to demonstrate the link between past and future in Aboriginal culture,” said Mitchell.
In addition to celebrating New Brunswick’s living heritage, the goals of the Public Art Policy in provincial buildings include:
- enabling individual New Brunswickers and the public to engage with and enjoy artwork in public spaces;
- stimulating and supporting economic, tourism and cultural development;
- supporting professional artists through opportunities for career development and visibility;
- reflecting an engagement between artists, the community and public buildings or sites; and
- increasing the value of government assets.