The city will not install the sculptures commissioned from the Walterdale Bridge

The city decided not to install a commissioned piece of art at the Walterdale Bridge.

According to a statement from the city, the decision was made not to install it due to the risk that the artwork could be misinterpreted as a celebration of colonization.

“Through the City’s previous experiences, such as coordinating the removal of the murals from the Government Center LRT station, we listened to the community and shared their discomfort and pain caused by the artwork. This demonstrated the importance of listening and acting on the principle of “do no harm”, in order to mitigate the negative impacts on indigenous peoples who have suffered the harms associated with colonization and loss of culture. , language, and spiritual practices,” the statement reads.

The work is a pair of bronze sculptures. One is of a bison, the other of a fur trader.

The artwork was intended to highlight Edmonton’s role in the history of the fur trade.

Proposed locations for Walterdale Bridge Sculptures. (Source: Ken Lum)

Artist Ken Lum was commissioned to make the pieces in 2010 as part of the city’s Percent for Art program.

The cost of the sculptures was $375,000 and they were completed in 2016.

On June 30, Lum released the following statement on social media:

“It is not easy public art but meant to raise awareness of this condition and choice. It is public art that speaks truth to power. So much public art makes no demands of the public. It is intended to provoke a dialogue about the story and the To date, the work rots in a lot of the city.

The city has asked the Edmonton Arts Council to begin the process of removing the art from the city’s collection.