Each of the benches on Elbow Island was designed and built by artist duos with an intimate relationship: a father/daughter team, a long-time friendship, and former romantic partners. Artists were asked to create a bench that is their ideal “together place” to sit, daydream, converse, escape, and watch the river flowing by.
Below are descriptions of all three benches, along with short documentaries captured by our project filmmaker Ramin Eshraghi-Yazdi. Most photos in this blog were captured by Mike Tan Photo, with a few by Caitlind Brown.
Laura and Michael Hosaluk (2020)
Cast concrete, found bridge truss
The first bench was created by a father/daughter duo and is located a short walk from the stairs on the North bank of Elbow Island. Built from a found bridge girder scavenged from the first traffic bridge in Saskatoon and a concrete casting of a large wooden slab, the bench creates a literal bridge between nature and humankind. In the artists’ words, “a bench acts as the vehicle for one or more to gather, an opening to belong in the interconnectedness of life, a place to sit in the experience of inner expressions combined with the outer world that surrounds. This installation represents imaginative environments that bridge the conditions to invent creative possibility found in viewing our Earth as truly ours rather than mine.”
Jeremy Pavka and Sean Procyk (2020)
Steel, wood, concrete, found materials
The second bench was created by long-time friends and is located across the ephemeral stream on Elbow Island. Referencing a relationship with nature based in the landscaping experience, this bench hearkens to an autobiographical experience shared by many who have worked outdoors. In the artists’ words, “Late Lunch references a nostalgia related to labour and leisure. Two wheelbarrows tipped up create an impromptu seating arrangement to rest for a bit while the work stops. Late Lunch can be an agreement between the workers on an extended work day, or it can be an extended break as you relax and take in your surroundings.”
Susan Clarahan and Joel Staples (2020)
Aluminum, wood, milk paint
Located at the southwestern point of Elbow Island Park, the final bench was designed and built by former romantic partners for the sunniest locale on the island. In the artists words, “the Sun Chairs invite rest and relaxation, recalling beach loungers next to swimming pools or the ocean. They are meant to support a moment of gathered attention, with soft focus upon the river, the sun, the stars in motion. With the back of the chairs angled towards the sky, our perspective can shift to what is above and beyond.”
The benches on Elbow Island Park are seldom empty, even in the depths of winter. Thank you to the artists for sharing their vision of “sitting together.” Thanks to our documentarians for capturing the process, and to all the visitors for using these benches with delight, across all seasons.