will brady's ruminations
art + artists | street art
I'll be writing more and posting more pictures of Roadsworth
and the work of Peter Gibson
later today when I get the chance. He's been interviewed on Zeke's Place
and there are video clips about Roadsworths' work at Citizen Shift
If anyone knows this guy, please send me a way to contact him. I have a more extensive set of photos for him taken from the upper floors of Hotel Gouverneuer, Place DuPuis.
A write up about the chess squares was on Le Devoir.Com [Or... read an English Translation]
UPDATE 4 June 2007: Got an e-mail from Mr. Gibson who made the following observations about
"...the whole pawn takes bishop thing is a subtle commentary on Quebequois history which underwent as you probably know (are you Canadian, American, Quebecois?) a fairly abrupt "regime change" at one point, going from an extremely Catholic society, where the church had a huge influence on people to becoming the most secular (by statistical standards
anyway) province in Canada.
The pawn I guess represents the individual, the bishop the church and the hand the larger forces of economy, capitalism etc...similar "power plays/shifts" are taking place today but with different "pieces" or players. It's an historical point that I feel is a defining aspect of Quebecois society to this
I think the fact that we refer to Place Emilie-Gamelin as Berri Square is indicative of that. You've ...noticed as I did the irony that the Square is now home to a fairly significant itinerant population while the trend at the municipal level seems to be one of pushing these people out- and on or near the location where the good Emilie dispensed alms and support to the poor nonetheless..."
The Digital Cities Project
has an intriguiging brief piece on La Place Emilie Gamelin
that recounts the square's history, going back to when the Sisters of Providence operated a soup kitchen, a pharmacy and hospital for the poor, and a home for impoverished elder women at the site. It burned down in 1963.
Labels: artists, Émilie-Gamelin, montreal, Roadsworth, social change, street art
travel | culture
Across the street from our three-day home is an public square named "la place Émilie-Gamelin
. Perhaps better known these days as Berri-UQAM
" a major Metro station hub, the center for University of Quebec at Montreal [UQAM] and the stop off point for the newly opened Grande Bibliothèque
, Quebec's National Library collection
Berri/UQAM is not, however, the correct name for the square. It is, instead, named after a pious and generous Lady who lived in the 19th century, "the Widow Gamelin
." After the loss of two infant children and her husband, Jean-Baptiste Gamelin, a wealthy Montreal merchant, in less than 5 years, Emilie dedicated her energy and her financial resources to serving the poor in a spirit of humility, simplicity, and charity.
So it is logically no surprise that a public space named after her would become a refuge for local Iternants, [otherwise known as "homeless persons"
]. Recently a trend in city governments, including in Montreal, there has been increased pressure on the homeless to get lost
. [Read an English Translation]
How much greater the irony, then, that la place Émilie-Gamelin
shall likely evolve to evict the poor huddled masses. Frankly, it's distressing to see a society ostensibly more enlightened than that south of thelines established after the War with Britain
so readily adopt the Ayn Rand ethic of selfishness and disdain for the less advantaged.
On the other hand, if you walk past a group who, daily, bring a gaggle of fighting dogs and have a bilingual celebratory signage out front of your staked post in the park that reads "we are a 420 family
" it may rankle a hard-working stiff passing you by after work.
Labels: emilie gamelin, homelessness, itinerants, montreal, parcs, parks, social change
art + artists | street art
I do not yet know who are the creators of the series of symbolic chess boards and moves are represented in the images presented here.
But the images show a series of moves where a bishop is taken by a pawn> I asked briefly of one of the painters working on the project.
"Pawn takes Bishop, eh?
" I inquired. There was what appeared to be a shy almost grin, prior to his response>
" he mused. "Kind of like Quebec.
Now, I haven't the time to catch up quickly on either intraprovinical or Canadian federal politics, but I could not help but wondering as to what this meant, exactly, about Canada's relationship with the USA or even, indeed, as to how it might apply elsewhere.
After all, we bear ever closer to the regime change period of our own.
Who knows? Life bears watching, doesn't it?
One other note of observation. Montréal is also a mecca for taggers and grafitti artists. We saw these samples nearby.
That was in our first half-hour on our first seasonal walkabout. We had a traveler for part of the day, Richard, who was great fun to tour with. And his quick conversation into Spanish with a petite Quebequois bakery counterwoman drew us admiration. Too bad he didn't put the strawberry plant we saw while at Marche Atwater..
Labels: Atwater Market, graffiti, Marche Atwater, montreal, Place Dupuis, public art, taggers