The City of Hamilton completed a Public Art process to commission a permanent public art work sited in Century Street Parkette at the corner of Wentworth and Wilson Streets in Downtown Hamilton, Ward 3. The award was $120,000.
The call for artists closed on January 28, 2021. 40 total submissions were received from national and international artists and artist-led teams and 5 submissions were selected by a citizen jury to prepare detailed proposals for public consultation. 202 people provided comments which were considered by the jury in making their final selection.
The volunteer citizen jury has selected the work “Convergence” by Hooman Mehdizadehjafari as the winning proposal. Visit the Century Street Parkette Public Art Project Page to read the Jury Report.
ARTIST’S CONCEPT STATEMENT
If the GALA Neighbourhood is anything, it is a community in motion. In fact, it has always been this way. From the traditional custodians of the land that arrived to enjoy the bounty of the merging waterways to the more recent settlers that brought on a flourishing industrial revolution. Change appears to be woven into the DNA of these lands.
Emerging from a cultural melting pot of hard working and entrepreneurial Makers and Craftspeople that came from across the country and the world to build bright futures for their families, is a community ready to transform once again.
Choosing to honour the story of their past, wearing proudly the remnants of a city ripe for constant evolution and growth – resilient even in the toughest of times – energized community members have asked for an artwork that represents this very spirit that is the fuel that propels them into a bright future.
The proposed design is an abstract art bench in an expressive form that moves along the outer borders of the central oval area of the Century Street Parkette (current planting bed). The dynamic form of the piece is a metaphoric testament to the community’s affinity for evolution, a constant, energetic wave that moves to its own unique rhythm, and in continued forward motion even as it weathers the inevitable ups and downs.
The stainless steel material reflects the industrial spirit of the GALA Neighbourhood’s history with the scratch-sanded texture of outer wall describing the fingerprints left behind by the determined hands that built this proud community.
The wooden sitting areas on the other hand, represent the beautiful local nature through the use of a natural substance. Beyond a bench, this multi-use design activates the space by enticing conversation and gathering. The oval shape allows for both intimate inwards circles to form, as well as inviting varied seating and interaction opportunities for visitors of all ages.
This artwork, titled “Convergence”, reflects the dynamic form of both skylines and the vibrations of its people – the heartbeat of the GALA Neighbourhood. In an educational context, Convergence represents the coming together of ideas and expertise from multidisciplinary backgrounds in order to achieve a common goal for the betterment of the larger community.
Nestled between downtown and the nearby hills, the central location of the site is where community members and their paths meet. Knowing the nature of the artwork site and its proximity to two schools in the neighbourhood, I couldn’t think of a more noble way to inspire the future leaders of the GALA Neighbourhood than by providing a captivating opportunity for them to gather. For beyond the classroom, it is in the moments of sharing stories, dreams, and experiences not found in books where these young minds learn. Expanding from the culturally rich perspectives of the people that make up this colourful neighbourhood.
Convergence offers students/residents a place for performance, outdoor learning, and inspiration as it expresses the spirit of “rolling on” and moving forward.