Community Arts Space 2021
Project led by David Constantino Salazar
In collaboration with participants from Workman Arts
Established in 2016, Community Arts Space (CAS) is the Gardiner’s incubator for arts-based projects that build community through clay making. As part of CAS2021, artist David Constantino Salazar presents Forever (Bird-Botanicals) in partnership with members of Workman Arts, a Toronto-based arts organization that promotes a greater understanding of mental health and addiction.
Inspired by folk tales and allegories passed on from his grandparents in Ecuador, Salazar uses the symbol of the bird to explore themes of hope, freedom, and growth while reflecting on personal tragedy and collective trauma. Salazar asks us to meditate on the concept of human resilience, an idea especially pertinent as we begin to recover from the impact of the global pandemic.
Salazar created over 200 birds during a two-month residency at the Gardiner. While the clay was still soft, he threw the birds at a wall, evoking a physical, mental, and spiritual rupture, and at the same time preserving their beauty and energy. As the title suggests, the birds endure, albeit in a new form. Salazar encourages us all to approach traumas as opportunities for transformation, adaptation, and renewal, while remaining sensitive to how these experiences change and challenge us.
Appearing alongside Salazar’s work are birds made by participants from Workman Arts who took part in online workshops lead by the artist in July 2021. In contrast to Salazar’s birds, displayed on the gallery walls, the birds created by the Workman Arts participants gather on the ground. The space between these two groupings creates an uncomfortable tension that we are encouraged to sit with rather than ignore.
Additional birds made by community members and Gardiner visitors in a series of hands-on workshops are on view throughout the Museum.
David Constantino Salazar is a Toronto-based sculptor with a Master of Fine Arts degree from OCAD University. He has exhibited widely, including at Carnival, Rio de Janeiro (2012); the Spadina Museum, Nuit Blanche, Toronto (2015); and the first presentation of Forever (Bird-Botanicals) at the third International Biennial of Asunción in Paraguay (March 2020).
Susan Crocker & John Hunkin