Location: St. Anne's at St. Mary's Road
Medium: Aluminum canoes, paint, cedar
Winnipeggers may be wondering about the lit canoes at the junction of St. Anne’s and St. Mary’s Roads in the heart of Old St. Vital.
Watershed was commissioned by the Winnipeg Arts Council in collaboration with the Old St. Vital BIZ, as part of the redevelopment of the transit plaza at the intersection of St. Anne’s and St. Mary’s Roads. The BIZ's design team worked closely with the artist so that the renovated plaza would complement and prominently feature the new artwork, providing a focal point for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The plaza renovation will be completed with paving stones and plantings in the spring.
Zipp was inspired by a visit to the St. Vital Museum across the street, where he saw a birch bark canoe and historical photos from the 1950 flood when the junction was under water and canoes were used to transport people and supplies.
“What drew me to the idea of using canoes as a source material for this work was the resilience that the people of St. Vital showed. The flood should not only be remembered as a time of despair but as a time when the community came together. The area also has a diverse and rich history. The 1820 Metis settlement is a major and important part of it.” - Collin Zipp, artist
The artist celebrates this history and more with Watershed. Working with actual canoes, altered and stood on end, Zipp replaced the branding on these familiar objects with historical neighbourhood references to the 1820 Métis settlement; the old Windsor Theatre that was across the street; the original St. Vital archway where the streetcar line ended; the river lot where the sculpture now stands; and dates marking the levels of Winnipeg’s great floods.
Collin Zipp is a multidisciplinary artist who works with video, photo, sculpture, painting and installation. His work explores notions of viewer expectation and contemporary mythmaking. Zipp uses elements of storytelling and narrative structures to explore the role of the art object. Zipp has exhibited his work widely both nationally and internationally. Zipp obtained his BFA from the University of Manitoba and his MFA from the University of Lethbridge.