Best Place Crying Out for Public Art

The Stanfield International Airport

It was recently announced that Oklahoma City will be receiving a bronze statue of Angelina Jolie, nude, breastfeeding her twins, as sculpted by Daniel Edwards. You know, we’re not suggesting something similar for Halifax, but wouldn’t it be awesome?

The fact of the matter is that this town is in dire need of public art, especially at its transit gateways, for example, the Robert L. Stanfield International Airport.

Ilan Sandler is a professor at NSCAD and a visual artist who has exhibited his sculpture nationally and internationally. “A Departure,” his collection of outsized train wheels was recently installed in Lethbridge, Alberta, and his creation “The Book,” an enormous steel tome with “pages” appearing to blow in the wind, can be seen adjacent to Lester Pearson International Airport in Toronto from Highway 401. Sandler knows from public art.

“The airport site is a four-year site, it is being relocated permanently in downtown Toronto,” he says. “But it was designed for that kind of environment.” The characteristics that inspired the work included Sandler’s interest in vessels---objects that carry knowledge---the wind corridor around the airport and the highway, and finally, the airport itself. “The nature of planes,” he says. “The book is kind of teetering, but in a sense its two large leaves are like wings.”

Sandler sees public art as an opportunity to stimulate people’s imaginations, you pass them in a fleeting way and they spark something and stick in the memory.

“What I’m hoping is that people will see them as complementary to the environment they’re in,” says Sandler. “Such that one doesn’t always have to think of a mundane environment or a civic place as a functional place, a place where preconceived activity has to occur. If you’re on a highway it doesn’t only have to be about driving.”

And if you are at the airport it doesn’t only have to be about flying.

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