Cultural Collision Sculpture created by Geoff Slater with the assistance of Kyle Hargrove.
Geoff Slater Artist Statement:
The Steel Ball represents Colonial Culture in North America. This ball was originally welded during WW2 to hold up anti-submarine nets around our great harbours.
Goods from our shores were being loaded on ships during WW2 to help aid the war efforts in Europe and Russia, and the protection of these ships while vulnerable in port was vital to that effort.Canada was the first colony of the British Empire to declare war on Germany. This steel ball is from those roots in history.The Birch, on the other hand, represent Indigenous Culture. Here in the Maritimes where we live, Birch was, and still is, a very important element in Indigenous Material Culture. Everything from housing, transportation, and basketry, were, and still are, made from Birch.These two materials, Steel and Birch, are linked together in an “explosion”, with this Sculpture.There are some interesting things happening here. One is that the two materials are “threaded together”. The birch can be removed from the steel, but they are definitely connected.The second is the two materials have very different deterioration rates. The Birch will break down faster than the steel, but it is a renewable resource, and can be replaced yearly, if necessary.( unless we poison the land) The Steel Ball will last longer, but requires care and maintenance, and will eventually rust away, if not painted. So there is a dance between these two elements! For this Sculpture to last, care will be needed to ensure both survive.
I find that narrative comforting, and enjoy the reminder of this every time I walk around the Sculpture!
A special thanks to Kyle Hargrove, William Duvall and Doug Moore whose help with this project was invaluable!