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.

Michael Belmore’s stone sculpture Coalescence will be installed permanently, beginning as a whole in Churchill and moving to Riding Mountain National Park, The Forks National Historic Site and finally Grasslands National Park.

Delayed project launch for Michael Belmore: Coalescence, LandMarks 2017

The unprecedented levels of spring flooding in Northern Manitoba have led to an interruption of rail service between Winnipeg and Churchill. The timeline for the LandMarks 2017 installation relies on the rail line for transportation to Riding Mountain National Park, the Forks National Historic Site, and Grasslands National Park. As a result, the launch events and installations will be rescheduled until later dates. While we are saddened by this delay, we would like to take this opportunity to install the work as a whole in Churchill for the summer and undertake the journey with the piece when the rail line is once again operational.

The meeting points between water and land are always in flux. Movement, migration, and displacement – of water, stones, communities, and people – have always been at the core of this project and have guided our choice of locations for the piece. While we did not anticipate that these processes would shape our timeline to this extent, we feel that working with them adds to the complexity of the final work.  

We apologize for the inconvenience that the schedule changes have caused, and would like to thank the LandMarks 2017 team, Parks Canada, Town of Churchill, VIA Rail, and everyone else who has helped with this project and our adjusted timelines.

Michael Belmore and Natalia Lebedinskaia