Canadian Heritage salutes the Frankfurt Book Fair by exhibiting two original artworks by three young Canadian artists on two prominent staircases in downtown Ottawa. The art installations represent the theme “Singular Plurality,” Canada’s slogan as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany.
The installations, on the York Street and Plaza Bridge steps, are wonderful expressions of the theme. They reflect our diversity and are inspired by Canada’s multitude of peoples, cultures and landscapes.
Young artist Yasaman Mehrsa explains that the concept of her work Unity is simple and symbolic: “The houses represent humans and the paths represent nature, but together they symbolize unity, both among ourselves and between us and nature. The single house at the bottom becomes a multitude of houses higher up, showing the relationship between the individual and the community. This colourful and playful image is not meant to be a realistic representation, but rather to suggest the notion of unity that is found everywhere: in the past, the present, and-most important for us-the future.”
Birds of a Feather is a joint project by two Toronto artists, Caitlin Taguibao and Andrea Manica. This work depicts three iconic Canada geese of different colours surrounded by plants and flowers. It “invites us to reflect on what brings us together despite our differences, and on how to celebrate Canada’s singular plurality.”
Birds of a Feather and Unity are exhibited as part of the Canadian Heritage’s Art in the Capital program, which adds warmth and vitality to parks, streets and public places in Canada’s Capital Region while showcasing the talent of Canadian artists.
“Once again this year, we are proud to exhibit, in the heart of the capital, original works by young Canadian artists inspired by our country’s singular plurality. I invite residents and visitors in Canada’s Capital Region to admire these art installations and celebrate our diversity through the arts.”
-The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage
Caitlin Taguibao is a freelance illustrator, mural painter and graphic designer whose work focuses on botany and personal stories. Andrea Manica is a freelance illustrator, mural painter and artist whose work is inspired by feelings, symbols and goals. Yasaman Mehrsa is a visual artist with a passion for public art; she seeks to create memorable works that stand out and engage the viewer.
The artworks Birds of a Feather and Unity were selected as part of a call for proposals on the theme “Singular Plurality” that was launched by Canadian Heritage for Canadian artists, graphic designers and illustrators aged 18 to 35.
The theme “Singular Plurality,” Canada’s slogan as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany, challenged the artists to create a powerful and dynamic image that reflects Canada’s multitude of peoples, cultures and landscapes.
Birds of a Feather and Unity were reproduced on exterior-quality graphic film and installed on the York Street and Plaza Bridge steps respectively. The York Street steps are in a highly visible part of the core of Canada’s Capital Region, linking the historic ByWard Market to Major’s Hill Park and Parliament Hill. The steps of the Plaza Bridge, which spans the Rideau Canal, are located near the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa.
The Art in the Capital program has developed a new interactive way to display these winning works. Visit Canada’s Capital Region’s Temporary Exhibits web page to download the works (Birds of a Feather and Unity) as puzzles you can do at home.
Because of COVID‑19 restrictions, Canada will have a virtual presence as the Guest of Honour country at the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair. Canada has postponed its physical role as the Guest of Honour country until 2021. This postponement allows the Government of Canada to focus on its priority of providing economic relief for individuals and businesses most affected by COVID‑19.