The Wandering Island is a site-specific, collaborative art project conceived for Elbow Island, a Calgary/Mohkínstsis park balancing precariously between city + nature, land + river, public + private, camouflaged + forgotten. The Wandering Island has a mandate to create slow art for the audience of birds, bats, beaver, fish, and the occasional curious wanderer.
Guided by local artists Lane Shordee, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, The Wandering Island was commissioned through The City of Calgary public art program and funded through the Elbow Island Park fish habitat restoration and flood mitigation project. Thank you to the many collaborators, experts, consultants, friends, and neighbours who have contributed to this project.
The Wandering Island is located beneath Mission Bridge on Elbow Island Park in Calgary/Mohkínstsis, on the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 in Alberta. Please read our Land Acknowledgement.
A note about accessibility: Elbow Island Park is accessed by stairs off Mission Bridge and is not currently accessible to wheelchair-users. The paths onsite are unpaved and unmanicured – imagine wild dirt and rock trails. If you have questions about accessibility, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can share more about the specifics of the site and help you visit in whatever ways are possible.
In late 2020, six functional artworks were installed on Elbow Island, integrated into onsite infrastructure of the park. Stairs designed by Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett guide visitors down onto the island, creating a sculptural entry-point for The Wandering Island. Walking trails lead to artistic stepping stones, formed by Lane Shordee with a textual installation by Kablusiak, allowing passage to the remarkably wild, inner-island landscape. Benches designed by artist teams Laura Hosaluk & Michael Hosaluk, Jeremy Pavka & Sean Procyk, and Susan Clarahan & Joel Staples appear along the North bank of the island, offering places to sit, rest, reflect, and watch the Elbow River.
Read more about the artists here.
The second part of The Wandering Island is a series of temporary seasonal artworks unfolding over several years, reflecting Elbow Island Park as a biological, social, spatial, mythical, cultural, historical, and conceptual site. Each season for 10 consecutive seasons, different artists will make land-responsive artworks, both on and off the island, speaking to the island as a place floating between contexts.
To receive the future Call for Submissions to artists and writers, sign up for our e-newsletter here.
Throughout Part 1 and 2 of The Wandering Island, documentarians are following artists as they conceive, fabricate, install, and share new artworks on Elbow Island Park. Filmmaker Ramin Eshraghi-Yazdi and photographer Mike Tan are building an archive of imagery to supplement the real-time experience of the space, gently challenging the silent voice of Public Art in Calgary. These films and photos, along with the project blog and social media, invite viewers from near and far to explore The Wandering Island as it unfolds on Elbow Island Park.