Public Art Primary School

L’Enfant Monumentale, École des Cépages, Gatineau, Québec
Commission: Politique d’intégration des arts à l’architecture, Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Quebec.


The competition for this commission had two stipulations: the art should indicate the activities of the new primary school; the art should show a tangible connection to the theme of the new suburban sector, whose streets are all names after French wines!

The twenty-tonne figure was originally inspired by memories of the very grand impression made by the “first teacher”.

The simplicity of the structure stands in direct opposition to the visual and virtual complexities that overload and bombard a child today.  Block-style construction, suggested by “Lego”,  hints at ideas like stacking games, snow people, geography, simple geometry, homework and a child’s need to build and draw the “real” way.

The non-gendered imposing figure, set upon an alphabet base, with an compass/antenna reaching from its head, represents the journey of learning.  The urn, an ancient container for wine storage, is a vessel for knowledge here, in its position as the head.

52 original children’s drawings and a grapevine border cover the four sides of the character’s skirt, or pants (depending how you see it).  In the course of collecting these drawings for the sculpture, the child became the teacher and the teacher became the child.