Migration lands in centre of St. Anne Street roundabout

After extensive public consultation, the award-winning, Québec-based Artist Team of Jean-François Cooke and Pierre Sasseville (also known as Cooke-Sasseville) have been selected to create their artwork titled Migration in recognition of Canada’s 150th Anniversary.

This Canada 150 project will be the City’s largest single artwork commission to date and is set for installation during the fall of 2018 in the centre of the St. Anne Street roundabout. Composed of three golden-yellow sculptures, from a distance Migration will resemble stalks of wheat. Upon further inspection, residents will discover 72 Canadian geese featured in the piece—systemically arranged and ready for their yearly journey. Building off the sense of community essential to successful migration, the geese embody group strength, while the sheaf of wheat reminds us of the importance of agriculture to Canada’s economic and social development post-confederation. As Cooke-Sasseville state,

The communities that forged the identity of St. Albert are represented in a symbolic, monumental piece that overlooks the site of integration, towering nearly 10 metres above. Seemingly all heading in the same direction, our Canada geese illustrate community spirit, mutual aid, and achieving common goals.

In Migration, Cooke-Sasseville highlight how Canadian communities, such as St. Albert, work together to build themselves and Canada. Similar themes of community and/or agriculture are explored in several of Cooke-Sasseville’s artworks across Canada, including La Trajectoire in Quebec City. The connection between St. Albert and Quebec City is noteworthy as St. Albert is a member of the Network of North American Francophone Cities.

This milestone project also involves an unprecedented degree of community engagement. This engagement has included broad community outreach, asking over 600 residents their preferred location for the anniversary piece, and an evening of conversation with the four shortlisted artists, where they responded to the public’s questions regarding each proposed sculpture. Public feedback was then collected and thoughtfully considered by a qualified jury selected by the St. Albert Public Art Advisory Committee, which is a volunteer committee comprised of art professionals, community members and City representatives.

“The selection of Migration is a beautiful example of how Public Art can creatively foster community cohesion, leadership and dialogue. This selection process further distinguishes St. Albert as a Botanical Arts City and is a memorable legacy for Canada’s 150th Anniversary.” says Mayor Cathy Heron

Submitting artists were also asked to develop and include community engagement components in their project proposals. Public involvement with Migration will take place following installation of the artwork. The Artist Team will work with the City of St. Albert to organize a cultural outreach day featuring various activities and events. These events will provide a forum to highlight the importance of public art in a flourishing city.

The winning proposal reflects the trademark whimsy of the Cooke-Sasseville team. The duo has won 23 public art competitions, presented artwork in numerous solo exhibitions and participated in major collective events in Canada, the United States, Europe and Mexico, which, in turn, has resulted in an impressive body of sculptures and installations.

For more information, visit stalbert.ca, search public art consultation.