Bernie Miller and Noam Gonick
Program: Collaboration, Commissions
Location: Pantages Plaza, Main Street at Market Avenue
Medium: Weathering steel, stainless steel, tempered glass, light
On Friday, June 21, 2019 on the 100th anniversary of Bloody Saturday, Winnipeg revealed a new artwork dedicated to climactic events a century ago. The final chapter of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, Bloody Saturday began as a silent protest led by returning WWI veterans protesting the arrest of strike leaders. A streetcar driven into the crowd by strikebreakers was rocked off its tracks and torched, triggering the deaths of two protesters and the hospitalization of 27 others at the hands of mounted police and private militia.
Artists Bernie Miller and Noam Gonick have created Bloody Saturday, a steel and glass ghost of the original tipped trolley rising out of the paving adjacent to the Main Street site of the incident, which was documented in 1919 by photographer LB Foote.
“So much that defines Winnipeg, its achievements and its rebellious core, was forged on Bloody Saturday,” state the artists.
Illuminated from within and situated in Pantages Theatre Plaza, the artwork is across from City Hall and nestled in Winnipeg’s entertainment district, alongside the Centennial Concert Hall, near the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and The Manitoba Museum.
The intersection is a busy corner, visible to thousands of vehicles daily. With this exposure, the artwork secures a prominent place for the memory of the Strike within the citizenry’s consciousness for the century ahead.
“Bloody Saturday is a thought-provoking artwork that speaks to the unique history and character of Winnipeg. We hope that it inspires people to ask questions and talk about the complex issues of the Winnipeg General Strike and how they are still relevant today.” - Carol A. Phillips, Executive Director, Winnipeg Arts Council
Thanks to Ironworkers Local 728 and contractors SAE Consulting Professiona Engineers, DMS Industrial, Parr Metal Fabricators, Dynamic Machine, Tony's Concrete, MCW Consultants, HTFC Planning & Design, James Ross Landscaping, Warren Carther Studio, McConnell Electric, Able Crane, Imrie Demolition, LDA Structural Engineers, LPR Engineering, Wallace + Wallace, RD Sales, and Central Blasting for collaborating creatively with the artist team to make this project a success!
Bloody Saturday was commissioned by the Winnipeg Arts Council through Winnipeg’s Public Art Program with participation from the Government of Canada, CentreVenture, the Winnipeg Foundation, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505, IATSE Local 856, private donors, and the Manitoba Federation of Labour and Manitoba’s Unions:Association of Employees Supporting Education Services - AESES, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505 – ATU 1505, American Income Life – AIL, Assiniboine Credit Union - ACU, Bakery Confectionery & Tobacco International Union Local 389 - BCTGM, Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union Local 342 - COPE 342, Canadian Union of Public Employees Manitoba – CUPE Manitoba, Canadian Union of Postal Workers – CUPW, Freeman AV, International Associations of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District Lodge 181 – IAMAW District Lodge 181, International Associations of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 714 – IAMAW Local Lodge 714, International Associations of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 1953 – IAMAW Local Lodge 1953, International Associations of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 2603 – IAMAW Local Lodge 2603, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees - IATSE, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 63 – IATSE Local 63, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 435 – IBEW Local 435, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2085 – IBEW Local 2085, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District 17 – IUPAT District 17, International Association of Bridge Structural Ornamental & Iron Workers - Ironworkers, Laborers' International Union of North America - LiUNA, Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals – MAHCP, Manitoba Blue Cross, Manitoba Building Trades -MBT, Manitoba Federation of Labour - MFL, Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union - MGEU, Manitoba Liquor Mart, Manitoba Nurses Union - MNU, Manitoba Teachers’ Society – MTS, Myers LLP, National Union of Public and General Employees - NUPGE, Ontario Public Service Employees Union – OPSEU, Powerland Computers, Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada - PIPSC, Public Service Alliance of Canada - PSAC, Public Service Alliance of Canada Prairies – PSAC Prairie Region, RBC Convention Centre, Selkirk & District Labour Council, Seven Oaks School Division, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Local 511 - SMART Local 511, TEAM - International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers Local 161 – TEAM-IFPTE Local 161, General Teamsters Local 979, United Association Of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 254 – UA Local 254, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832 - UFCW Local 832, United Food and Commercial Workers Canada - UFCW Canada, University of Manitoba Faculty Association - UMFA, Unifor, Union Centre, United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 343 – UBC Local 343, United Steelworkers District 3 – USW District 3, United Firefighters of Winnipeg Local 867 – UFFW Local 867, UNITE HERE Local 47, Winnipeg Association of Public Service Officers - International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers Local 162 - WAPSO-IFPTE Local 162, Winnipeg Labour Council, Winnipeg Police Association – WPA, Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba – WCB, Workers United Canada Council – WUCC.
In the Media:
- Winnipeg Free Press, posted December 23, 2019: 1919 strike inspired city's arts scene
- Canadian Fabricating & Welding, September 20, 2019: Streetcar sculpture re-creates historic tragedy
- Winnipeg Free Press, posted August 18, 2019: Streetcar named disaster, Public statue immortalizes infamous Bloody Saturday events
- Working Together, Summer 2019, p 41: Commemorating The Strike, Streetcar Installation Carries on the Story of 1919 Winnipeg General Strike
- CKUW.ca, posted July 28, 2019: Interview with artist Noam Gonick on Eat your Arts And Vegetables
- Radio-Canada, posted July 4, 2019: Oeuvre publique qui rend hommage à la grève de 1919
- Radio-Canada, posted June 21, 2019: Winnipeg inaugure un tramway nommé Samedi sanglant pour commémorer la grève de 1919
- CBC News, posted June 21, 2019: Fireworks mark unveiling of 1919 Winnipeg General Strike streetcar sculpture
- CTV News, posted June 21, 2019: 'Bloody Saturday' art installation to keep strike history 'alive for next 100 years'
- Canadian Art, posted June 20, 2019: News Roundup: Big Public Art Updates, Galleries on the Move and More
- Global News, posted June 11, 2019: Streetcar sculpture marks 100 years of Bloody Saturday on Main Street
- CBC News, posted June 3, 2019: Streetcar sculpture brings 1919 Winnipeg General Strike to life
- CTV News, posted June 3, 2019: Iconic strike streetcar image brought to life
- Bordercrossings Magazine Issue #150, June 2019: A Streetcar Named Conspire
- Canada's History, posted March 11, 2019: Tipping Point, A new public artwork will be unveiled to mark 100 years since the Winnipeg General Strike
- The Globe and Mail, posted October 31, 2017: Canadian artist Bernie Miller loved machine-age paradox
Bernie Miller, who died in October 2017, created major public art works across Canada, including Winnipeg’s Light Through, a series of light boxes integrated into the piers of the Disraeli Active Transportation Bridge. His sculpture commemorating Emma Goldman’s residency in Canada has yet to be built.