Richmond, British Columbia
Public Artworks Proposal
Deep Red uses perforated metal screens and lightweight metal ornamentation to create an abstracted illustration of cranberries in a flooded field. From a distance, the composition is remindful of the iconic ruby-red patterns that colour Richmond's landscapes each fall. Up close, the work's playful ornamentation references pinwheels and spinners, creating dynamic shapes and textures that play with shadow and light.
Indigenous people in BC used cranberries as a source of food, medicine and dye. Cranberries added nutritional value and were an effective preservative when crushed and combined with meat. Early settlers at Fort Langley traded with local Indigenous gatherers for the berries, shipping barrels to San Francisco for sale where sailing ships, who stocked the spoil-resistant fruit for prevention against scurvy, provided a steady demand.
Cultivation in BC began in 1946 when Jack Bell, a WWII Royal Canadian Air Force veteran, planted three acres and became the province's first commercial grower of cranberries. Today, British Columbia has 80 cranberry growers who farm more than 6,300 acres of cranberries. There are approximately 60 family-owned cranberry farms in Richmond with nearly 2,000 dedicated acres of land. Some Richmond families have been growing and selling cranberries for four generations.
Variations of whirligigs, pinwheels and spinners date back thousands of years and are attributed to a diversity of cultures. Though the precise origin of the whirligig is unknown, both farmers and sailors used weather vanes, and it is assumed that one or both groups are the originators of wind-driven toys and their related forms.
The oldest textual reference to a weather vane comes from the ancient Chinese text "Huainanzi" dating from around 139 BC, which describes a "wind-observing fan."
Cranberry farmers use wheeled machines, nicknamed egg beaters, that spin to knock berries off the wine during wet harvest, and the inside of the cranberry, when cut in half, resembles the form of a pinwheel.
project | public art proposal
design leader/collaborator | Lucien Durey