Long before roads and railways connected us, we were profoundly linked by our waterways. For LandMarks 2017/Repères 2017, Michael Belmore explores this profound connection through Coalescence, a sculpture whose four parts span thousands of miles across Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Coalescence, named after the process by which different elements become one, uses copper and stone to frame the historic path of the glacier that once covered much of North America. Beginning at the mouth of the Churchill River and spanning the boundaries of the Arctic Watershed, the sculpture’s four parts are located in Cape Merry, Prince of Wales Fort National Historic Site (MB), The Forks National Historic Site (MB), Riding Mountain National Park (MB) and Grasslands National Park (SK). Across this great distance, Belmore has installed copper-lined stones to mark important meeting points between water and land, both existing and ancient. The use of copper creates the impression of radiating heat – connected hearths that evoke parallel histories of migration, displacement, erasure, and the resilience of communities across vast distances. As the stones shift and settle and the copper greens over time, this sculpture will remain a reminder of change. And, if growing populations of bison in Grasslands National Park begin to use the stones for rubbing, renewal.
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