Works of art

As a hub of community and cultural life, Campus Saint-Jean is home to a number of artworks that are not only an artistic expression but also a reflection of the diversity of the Campus.

 

A triptych by artist Garry Berteig greets visitors at the entrance to the McMahon Pavilion.

Presentation of the works by the artist:

Knowledge, Spirit and Service

The Three Sites:

KNOWLEGE Title: FOR GUIDANCE:

The site of the tondo in the entry way at ceiling height requires a person to look up at the painting. This gesture of looking up is symbolic for those entering the campus to acquire learning from the guidance that is within. Looking up at For Guidance presents a position of humble learning in order to receive guidance when one is entering or exiting campus facilities.

SPIRIT Title: THE SCARLET PATH:

The site for the painting is bathed in South light from large windows equal in scale to the art work. The geometries of the painting and geometries of the campus views outside the windows reflect and play off of each other. The openness of the painting’s  imagery allows for reflection and consideration while the specific identity of the feather reminds one of our human scale within the dimensions of the campus architecture.

SERVICE Title: THE GREAT GIVING TREE:

The site location for the painting is illumined by the magic light of Dawn and the morning Sun. The tree as a symbol of well being is universal and often the symbol of what is sacred. Seeing the three paintings on a daily basis is important for the  dministration, students and faculty to always understand the relationships between the oneness of humanity and the movement of the sacred through all things and all beings. These sites will always be a reminder of the continuous newness of each day, every succeeding generation, each cycle of development and every epoch of human history.

The Paintings:

KNOWLEDGE

FOR GUIDANCE: The first painting of the triptych reveals knowledge obtained within the Arctic year. The dark night is a time of mystery, solitude, introspection and inspiration. The bright day is a time of energy, life forces, changes, reflections, and engagements. The Arctic has six months of Dark and the six Months of Light. A gradual change between them is indicated by the dawn/dusk that precedes and separates them via the silver horizon line between the two halves of each year. The location and size of the sun can be understood as the gradual development of illumination of the world and symbolically of stages of maturation. The title For Guidance suggests gradual changes in consciousness by this sun and other symbols in the Dark and Light areas as well.


Metaphors in the night side of the year;
1. The phases of the moon are a form of guidance as cycles marking periods of the year and associated patterns such as migrations and births.
2. The Northern Lights are often considered the spirits of the ancestors and providers of inspiration.
3. The Beluga Whale dives to the deeps of the Arctic Ocean to obtain delicate shrimp as a metaphor of the sweets found in the depths of knowledge.
4. The North Star is a historic reference for navigating voyages on the uncharted lands and guidance at sea. It is very bright and evident within the glimmer of star light.
5. As well as the moon cycles there are 12 concentric rings marking solar months as time frames.
6. The ice burg is ancient and suggests the eternal truths that are embedded and locked in it. 
This is seen as a way of pointing to the traditional accumulations of human knowledge and experience.
7. Inuksuit (plural of Inuksuk) point out to the traveler a direction on either side of the Dark or of the Light. These figures in stone provide metaphors of search for  knowledge, as well as the ever present connection and search for beauty.

Metaphors in the day side of the year;
1. The Canada Goose has one mate in its life time and can be used as a metaphor of the equality of male and female. If one dies the other will not take a new partner. Also the migration of these birds is from deep into the Arctic and then back into the temperate South. This is presented as an example of the value of migrating through different cultures and environments as a means to acquire insights and learning. The Geese pairs can also illustrate a bond between love and trust.
2. The Polar Bear or Ice Bear is a hunter with incredible focus, persistence and intelligence yet unlike other bears it does not hibernate. Attributes much to be appreciated by those who choose research and development.
3. The Raven has an extraordinary memory and depends on it to notice slight changes in its surveys while hunting for food. Memory is a capacity of great benefit to all who acquire knowledge. The Raven is also playful and mischievous providing clues to the search for knowledge.
4. The Human community is situated inside a circle of nine points as an indication of the range and variety of knowledge possible in a community of people. The community is situated directly across from the ice burg as it has ancient connotations of preserved knowledge and traditions, not to mention scientific explorations of core samples that reveal past ages of atmospheric conditions of earth histories.


SPIRIT

THE SCARLET PATH: The second in the triptych, has a central vertical path between two sides much like the horizon line in For Guidance also reveals two halves.

1.The Scarlet Path is alive and active, indicated by the movements of pulsating and undulating forms inside of it. The journey along the path is provided for in every age at the very heart of all evolving states of being.
2. The Scarlet Path is central to various coloured fields of existence in which there are two arcs from the great circle of the creation that links all things and all beings together.
3. The arc of descent provides Guidance from the Divine.
4. The arc of ascent reflects the human spirit living in a responsive manner to Divine Guidance.
5. The eagle feather symbolizes teachings of the life journey of mortal human beings.
6. Coming from the Creator at the time of conception through to the passage into the spiritual realms at the end of the human life, the feather symbolizes the evanescence of our existence.
7. At the same time the feather helps to understand stages of life itself in order to acquire wisdom with our minds and spiritual hearts.
8. The human spirit is understood as an agency interrelated to the actions of our life in the world and with the lives of others.

SERVICE

THE GREAT GIVING TREE: Third in the group making up the triptych The Great Giving Tree symbolizes service to others. For the Metis People the Great Giving Tree was one that had an opening into which items could be placed for others to use. On long hunting voyages passing such a tree would be a place to find things of some value then in turn leave something for the next group that passes by.
1. The painting situates a large tree with a variety of colors in its roots, trunk, branches, twigs, leaves and pink fruits yet to come. It is surrounded by the colors of the medicine wheel and is encircled by a ring of sacred animal figures near the base of the trunk. The tree trunk and branches touch what is above and the roots search out what is below. The tree exists within the relationships of all things, and all beings, between the sun and the earth and whatever moves between them. Passing through the stages of the moon, and the great circle of creation suggested by colours of the Medicine Wheel the central rectangle of the composition establishes a location in this world for the Great Giving Tree.
2. The branches of this Great Giving Tree are mainly blue and red or purple and gold. But there are other colors as well and they suggest the oneness of the many branches of humanity. Most of the branches and leaves coexist within a background of florescent green. Outside of this green boundary, are blue areas that start at the top of the painting illumined by the sun symbol of the Divine. Gold as a colour often refers to the sacred and the golden leaves therefore cast the sacred over the Great Giving Tree and beyond into other realities signified by colours. Other leaves are multi coloured, with an abundance of red leaves and blue leaves with many purple leaves suggesting the heritage of First Nations and Europeans realized by the Metis peoples.
3. The concentric circles refer to atomic structures and how atoms join to create molecules. As atoms are foundational for all forms of physical existence and ultimately of life itself they become intimate features of the heavens and the earth. Clouds of atoms continuously recreating the great circle of all existence are positioned around the Great Giving Tree. Various concentric circles are scattered throughout the painting supporting the sacred animals, illuminating the imminent pink fruits, and participating within the symbolic colors of the Medicine Wheel itself. The concentric circles signify the reciprocity of existence with service to others around The Great Giving Tree.

Two works by artist Stewart Steinhauer are located in the East Campus gardens: Mother Bears Pray for Earth Healing and Spirit Bear