An interactive two and a half metre (eight-foot) sculpture of iconic artist Vincent Van Gogh has been unveiled along Calgary’s popular 4th street in Mission.
It’s one of the final posthumous works of Saskatchewan-born artist Joe Fafard. For decades, his sculptures has celebrated rural life, as well as Van Gogh.
“For me to get another piece out and share more of it with the world is just honouring him. It’s what he wants.” said Fafard’s son Joël outside the Masters Gallery, where the massive installation is on public display.
The iron horses through Harley Hotchkiss Park in downtown Calgary were also created by Fafard.
“Van Gogh Observes” was designed with an optical illusion: the eyes of the portrait appear to lock its gaze no matter where one is standing.
Gallery owners say the public is welcome to interact with the art installation at any time.
“Part of the idea is that people will see it because its hard to miss," said Masters Gallery president Ryan Green. "People will see it and they will get more curious, firstly about art, about the power of art, and then (hopefully) about what Masters Gallery is and what we do,”
While art on public display has been an often controversial topic in recent years in Calgary, this latest piece seems pleasantly palatable to some passersby.
“I think the neighbourhood should buy it and keep it here. It’s so beautiful,” said Jeanne Docherty.
The piece will remain on the corner of 22 Avenue SW and 4th Street SW until it sells, while the platform will remain a permanent feature for future public art under a program called “Stage 22.”
The Joe Fafard exhibit is on display within the Masters Gallery until the end of October.