About the Imagined Monuments Project
The intent of the Imagined Monuments project is to develop a work of public art for the Greenbank Road area. This artwork will explore the role of storytelling in constructing social cohesion in the community of Barrhaven. Narratives that operate on a cultural level help a community reinforce societal norms, preserve its history, and strengthen its identity through shared knowledge and experience. Whether they are based on fact or fiction, narratives help to build community by assigning meaning to its history and existence. I intend to spend the five month residency period (January 2017 – May 2017) working with the community to explore the narratives that define the Greenbank Road area and Barrhaven at large. At the end of this residency period I will present plans for a permanent work of art that seeks to celebrate and perpetuate particular narratives through traditional monumental approaches.
I envision the finished work(s) existing as an Imagined Monument that celebrates the social narrative of the Barrhaven. The Imagined Monument project will use the language and material of traditional public sculpture to capture the small scale narratives that connect individuals in the Greenbank Road area. An example of such a narrative could be the tale of a lost dog, a memorial to a style of building that used to be significant on the site, or the story of how the landscape has changed by the influence of urban development. The Imagined Monument project will be an axis on which to pivot the community’s understanding of which social narratives are worthy of monuments, by foregrounding the stories that emerge from the community.
The City of Ottawa initiated a competition for public art along Greenbank Road in July 2016. Funds for public art have been allocated from the Greenbank Road widening construction project. The construction project includes the widening of Greenbank Road from two lanes of undivided traffic to four lanes divided by a central median.
The final public artwork will be installed along Greenbank Road in the spring of 2018.