West Harbour - James Street Plaza Public Art Project
The Hamilton Waterfront Trust / City of Hamilton has completed a Public Art process to commission a permanent Public Art work installed in the new West Harbour – James Street Plaza at the end of James Street North.
The 40 foot high panels are visible at street level from Guise Street (at James Street North) and from Piers 6 & 7. Due to construction in the area, up-close access to the artwork is temporarily restricted.
The volunteer citizen jury has selected the work "All Our Relations" by an artist team led by Angela DeMontigny and supported by Paull Rodrigue Glass, Cobalt Connects, LaFontaine Iron Werks Inc. and EXP.
The artwork has been installed at James Street north of Guise Street at the Waterfront.
I was inspired to create these panels and artwork by the traditional teachings I’ve received through the years as well as the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address.
I hope to remind people when they visit the Hamilton waterfront, of the intrinsic and interdependent relationship we have with Mother Earth, the natural world: the water, the plants, trees and medicines, and the animal world, This also includes the Spirit World, the Sky Beings, the 4 Sacred Winds, our Grandfather the Sun, Grandmother Moon, and our Ancestors the Stars. I also wanted to acknowledge all the Indigenous Ancestors who have historically called this area home for millennia – from the Neutral, Anishnabek, and Huron nations and more recently, the Haudenosaunee and Mississaugas.
As fires currently burn in the Amazon and global warming melts the permafrost and icecaps in Alaska, the world is finally becoming aware of how interconnected we are and that what happens in one country, affects us all. Indigenous people around the globe have always known this and have been valiantly trying to protect what we have left.
Hamilton is located within the Niagara Escarpment – a recognized, world UNESCO Biosphere Reserve which includes a rich biodiversity of rivers, lakes, waterfalls and forests that support numerous species of birds, fish, reptiles and mammals. It has the oldest forest ecosystem
and trees in eastern North America. I have chosen to represent just a few of these species in this artwork for the public to enjoy when visiting or living near the Hamilton waterfront.
We must acknowledge, give thanks and protect all our precious, natural resources so that we can ALL continue to live and thrive not only in this beautiful area but on this incredible planet which is our mother. Water is Life. "Nipipimahtisuwin" (Cree). All My Relations “Niw_Hk_M_Kanak” (Cree).
Angela DeMontigny (Cree/Métis)
This report is an overview of the discussion and decision of the volunteer citizen jury that met on the evening of Tuesday December 10, 2019 to determine which of the six short-listed artists’ proposals for a permanent public art work(s) to be located on the James Street North Plaza (as part of the Redevelopment of the waterfront on Piers 5 to 7) should be implemented.
They reviewed the submissions in terms of technical issues, artistic excellence, response to context, public consultation results and the proposals’ response to the following competition goal:
“That the public art work should be a beacon - visible along James Street North - marking the entrance to the West Harbour and recalling an aspect of the city's historic connection with water; natural, recreational and industrial (or the interrelation of these elements). The work should celebrate reconnection to the water's edge being advanced currently through the West Harbour development.”