Romeo and Juliet, peanut butter and jam... art and sport?
If you want to see an inspirational example of this unlikely duo, then a visit to the MTS Iceplex is in order. Hanging on the east wall of the hockey facility just west of the Perimeter Highway is a 96-inch x 192-inch mural constructed completely of recycled hockey and skating equipment.
Winnipeg Prairie Sky was donated by Art City, a community art centre in West Broadway that offers free workshops for inner-city youth and families.
With the help and continuing support of the Winnipeg Foundation, Manitoba Arts Council, City of Winnipeg, Province of Manitoba and the United Way, Art City (www.artcityinc.com) calls upon professional artists to volunteer their time and talents, and work with the next generation to find their inner ‘artiste’.
One such professional is Liz Pead, a high-calibre, Toronto-based artist, who regularly fuses art and sports, employing unusable hockey and skating paraphernalia (some of which is her own goalie gear).
It was through one of Pead’s Art City workshops that Winnipeg Prairie Sky was generated, inspired by the style of the Group of Seven.
I find the uniqueness of the dismantled hockey equipment draws you near, then forces you to step back a few paces to really grasp the landscape perspective.
If you look closely, you’ll see the artist’s name somewhere within. The prairie and hockey themes are pure Canadiana, while celebrating the artistry of sport.
An accomplished athlete, like anyone who has spent time honing their skills, is as much an artist as someone painting a mural, singing a song, or mastering a musical instrument.
For me, the piece is also a reminder that we should explore different media in an effort to discover our untapped talents.
When I learned how to kayak this summer, I observed the more-experienced paddlers travelling smoothly down the river while my technique showed signs of great effort. I may not make the national team, but I’m proud to say that I didn’t flip my vessel into the mighty, Red.
So, try something new, and please wave if you happen to see me on the river.