Underpass lit up with new public art display

Waverley West installation near completion

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This article was published 21/01/2022 (257 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Unidentified flying objects didn’t crash land near the Waverley Street underpass, although it might look like they did.

Outcroppings, a new installation by Toronto-based artist Jyhling Lee, was inspired by Manitoba’s geological history and the massive amounts of earth that were moved to create the southwest Winnipeg underpass and active transportation path.

It also reflects on ancient glacial Lake Agassiz — which once covered Winnipeg — and fossils found in local Tyndall Stone.

Supplied photo "Outcroppings," a new installation by Toronto-based artist Jyhling Lee, was inspired by Manitoba’s geological history and the massive amounts of earth that were moved to create the Waverley Street underpass and active transportation path.

“The landscape of this region has always been special to me,” Lee said.

“I got really caught up with the geological history of the site and place. I was thinking about the mineral abundance that’s present and has been for so long.”

The notion of elements emerging from the landscape is how the project came into being.

“I think, with public art, sometimes you’re limited to a small patch of area, but this project was unique in that there was quite a bit of land to work with,” Lee said.

Lee lived in Saskatoon for about six years, so she’s familiar with prairie landscapes and the geological history of the region.

Lee did a lot of research when developing the project, including spending time in Winnipeg at the University of Manitoba’s geological library and the Manitoba Museum.

She also conducted a geotechnical study of the area to better understand the soil, and her fabrication team in Saskatoon helped work through the design, detailing, sizing and placement.

The seven large powder-coated aluminum sculptures range in height from five to 10 feet and span 125 feet.

Lee said she was also responding to the length of the site, and the clam-shaped figures represent the seabed of former Lake Agassiz.

“It’s a vehicular and pedestrian thoroughfare, so I was creating a work that responded to that length and speed of travel, whether you’re in the car, walking or cycling,” she added. “The work can be experienced in so many different ways.”

Lee has other public art installations in Saskatoon, Regina, Toronto and its surrounding areas, Ottawa and Calgary.

Her goal is to have a project in each Canadian province and territory.

The project was delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but will officially open in 2022 with freshly seeded natural grasses.

Outcroppings was commissioned by the Winnipeg Arts Council in collaboration with public works and the Waverley Underpass project. It also received support from Coun. John Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry) and the land dedication reserve fund.

“I’m really happy with the response, and I just feel so lucky that I was able to work on a landscape-scale,” Lee said. “I also love Winnipeg, and I think the city has some of the best architects in Canada.”

More information about Outcroppings can be found at www.winnipegarts.ca/wac/artwork/outcroppings

Lee’s website is www.figuregroundstudio.ca

Kelsey James

Kelsey James
Community Journalist

Kelsey James is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. She graduated from Red River College’s creative communications program in 2018 as a journalism major and holds a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric, writing and communications from the University of Winnipeg. A lifelong Winnipegger who grew up in southwest Winnipeg, Kelsey is thrilled to be covering the neighbourhoods she still calls “home.”

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