9′ x 53′ x 53′
Stoneware, glaze, gold lustre, metal rods, solar lights
‘Compass, Boussole, Kekinòwijiwedj – Peace in all directions-‘ is a public ceramic art installation, directed by Kirstin Davidson (Coordinator), Kim Lulashnyk (Media and Communications) and Hilde Lambrechts (Designer), with 3659 pieces planted in the shape of a compass rose, based on the logo of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. It spreads 15 m in diameter on the lawn in front of this building in celebration of their new fabulous location at 50 Sussex.
It comprises 4 elements: feathers, roses, fleurs de lys and birds. The feathers, roses and fleurs de lys were made for a previous and larger installation called Populace at the site of the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa for Canada 150. These pieces recognize the three main peoples in the Ottawa area at the time of Confederation: the Indigenous peoples, the British peoples and the French peoples. 9000 of them were made by over 2000 members of the public; the youngest being 2 years old, the oldest 103. Where Populace looked back at the past, Compass reflects on a contemporary Canada. To that end our colleague from the Ottawa Guild of Potters, Klara Bruhlmann, made 210 ceramic birds to recognize all the other people that make Canada what it is today; a country that is peaceful, hence our white colour scheme, and inclusive.
The central feather marks the unceded Algonquin territory on which we find ourselves.
It is surrounded by 15 birds for the visitors to this country and all the people who are Canadians in waiting. From the centre a mass of feathers points out in all directions forming a compass rose with the true north arrow touched by tips of gold. The connection of the indigenous peoples with the land guided us to choose them to lead the way.
In between the feathered arrows are diamonds of roses and fleurs de lys, the two other founding nations of this country, embodying the two official languages being English and French. 195 birds are flanking all three of these symbols; immigrants and new Canadians from all 195 countries in the world, speaking a myriad of languages. Together all of us are spreading peace in all directions, even upward when 4 solar lights at night light up the heart of our Compass and send a beam of hope to the stars.
Compass is the story of Canada in a nut shell. It is also a moral compass that reminds us of whom we are and who we want to be. I believe that values of respect, dignity and politeness can guide us to peace and understanding, and when we uphold them strongly they can make the world a better place.
Thank you to Christina Ruddy and William Dick from Pikwakanagan for confirming the use of the word Kekinòwijiwedj which means guide.