Tuesday , 30 May 2023
Home Arts Public Art at Churchill Park will honour Holocaust hero Wallenberg

Public Art at Churchill Park will honour Holocaust hero Wallenberg

Artist Tor Lukasik-Foss, Madeleine Levy, Artist Gary Barwin, Artist Simon Frank and Ward 1 Councillor Maureen Wilson

A dream of former Hamilton resident Madeline levy of seeing recognition of Swedish Holocaust hero Raoul Wallenberg came to fruition this week with the unveiling of public art on what is now the Raoul Wallenberg path at Churchill Park. Wallenberg was credited with helping save the lives of 200,000 Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust.

Levy first advanced the idea of honouring Wallenberg in 2012 and managed to get council agreement to support the initiative. At that time she said “Not everybody can save 100,000 Jews, but one person can stand up to a bully on a playing field,” she said. “One person can work at a soup kitchen.” Supporting the initiative then Mayor Bob Bratina said Mayor Bob Bratina said honouring Wallenberg will inspire Hamiltonians. “I’d like us to give some profound thought to the best we can do.”

One of the ten bronzed suitcases in the Churchill Park display

Eventually funds were found from the ward area rating fund to commission the work and the commission was awarded to artists Gary Barwin, Simon Frank and Tor Lukasik-Foss. The work entitled “Belongings”, is comprised of a series of ten bronze-cast suitcases situated in different locations along the length of the new Churchill Park pathway. The suitcases are various sizes and styles, and on each, there is a different kind of small—a patched rip, a broken clasp, a bursting seam—revealing natural materials contained inside each case. Some of the cases have luggage tags or labels, which are embossed or engraved with symbolic imagery and text. These detailed elements on the suitcases engage viewers in up-close and tactile interactions with the artwork, as they examine the individual pieces. The suitcases lead viewers along the path to the culminating element of the artwork: a living tree emerging out of an open suitcase in the central garden.

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