…ultimately everything, nature and culture as well, and thus [humans] and [their] habitat, are connected in an infinite, diverse systems of relationships.

Edgar Morin, Sustainability Theorist
Wandering Island Postcard Front

The Wandering Island is a site-specific, collaborative art project conceived for Elbow Island, a Calgary/Mohkínstsis park located beneath Mission Bridge on 4th Street SW. This park balances 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 is a City of Calgary Public Art and Utilities & Environmental Protection Department Project, funded through the 1% For Art Policy. Thank you to the many collaborators, experts, consultants, friends, and neighbours who have contributed to this project.

Part 1 Permanent

In late 2020, six functional artworks will be 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, are placed along the North bank of Elbow Island Park, offering places to sit, rest, and reflect, watching the Elbow River.

You can read more about the artists here. There will be an Opening Event for Phase 1 in Spring 2021 (COVID regulations allowing).

Part 2 Seasonal

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 capturing artworks being conceived, fabricated, installed, and shared on Elbow Island Park. Filmmaker Ramin Eshraghi-Yazdi and photographer Mike Tan are building an archive of images and thoughts 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.

A note about accessibility: Elbow Island Park is a welcoming space for many people, however, due to the unmanicured nature of the island, the park is not currently accessible to wheelchair-users. 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.

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, which includes the Blackfoot Confederacy, the Tsuut’ina First Nation, and the Stoney Nakoda, and the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III. We share in the gratitude and responsibilities of wandering these lands over time. Please see our Land Acknowledgement.