Garden of Sculptures in Saint Boniface

April 9, 2017
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Garden of Sculptures in Saint Boniface

Public art at Jardin de Sculptures in Winnipeg’s French Quarter

La Maison des artistes is an artist centre of contemporary art that works with the francophone community in Manitoba and the French-speaking community at large. It is located in the building which was the St. Boniface City Hall for 70 years prior to amalgamation with the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1972. The three-storey red brick building was designed by architect Victor Horwood and built in 1905-1906. There were offices on the main floor, Council chambers on the second, and residences for the Chief of Police and his Assistant on the third. The courtroom and 11 jail cells (two for women, nine for men) were located in the basement. Today, in addition to La Maison des artistes, the building also houses the Riel Tourism Board, which offers information for attractions and events throughout St. Boniface and French Manitoba.

Jardin de Sculptures opened in the lot adjacent to the building in 2008. The garden contains a number of sculptures situated among greenery along wide walking paths.

Garden of Sculptures in Saint Boniface: Volte sculpture by Marcel Gosselin in front of old St Boniface City Hall

Volte column structure in front of old St Boniface City Hall

In front of the building is the sculpture Volte by Marcel Gosselin. A Google search for translations for the word “volte” gave me answers such as “make a u-turn” and “turnabout or reversal of opinion or policy.” In the context of this sculpture, it might mean “to go in circles”. The sculpture is meant to signify the circle of life and the importance of families, with each generation building upon the prior.

Garden of Sculptures in Saint Boniface: Monument sculpture by Michel de Broinin Jardin de Sculptures

Monument

The granite sculpture Monument by Michel de Broin was commissioned by the Winnipeg Arts Council in collaboration with La Maison des artistes for the newly constructed garden. It was unveiled in 2009. Michel de Broin is an artist of international acclaim who does innovative work. When he first visited the newly created garden, he was surprised by how formally it was laid out. The newly planted cedar trees were wrapped in burlap to protect them during the winter. Those burlap-wrapped trees, the draping of snow in the winter, and the statues at the nearby St. Boniface Cemetery inspired the piece. He called it, ” a decidedly contemporary spin to a classic motif.” The figures are concealed and anonymous. They remain a mystery.

The staff at Winnipeg Arts Council seem to love the story of the unveiling of this statue. I’ve heard it told at a couple of public art events I’ve attended. The sculpture was draped in red velvet. When the big moment of unveiling occurred, the red velvet was pulled away, only to reveal a set of draped figures.

Garden of Sculptures in Saint Boniface: Entre Chien et Loup by Joseph Fafard

Entre Chien et Loup

Entre Chien et Loup by Joseph Fafard resembles something between a wolf and a dog. All kinds of shapes can be found in the cut-out spaces – a church steeple, a man’s face, angels, birds, tree branches.

Garden of Sculptures in Saint Boniface: La Promise by Madeleine Vrignon

La Promise

La Promise by Madeleine Vrignon examines the conflicted relationship of women with traditional marriage. Information on the La Maison des artistes website says, “A sign of purity, the wedding dress symbolizes the transition to a new life where spirituality and sexuality will try to anchor.” When I look at the sculpture, the unattached hands reaching upward gives a sense of freedom and possibility and the bodice speaks of sensuality, while the wide skirt seems to ground and maybe even confine. You cannot see it in this photo, but the back of the skirt is teethered to the ground. Is it security or bondage?

Garden of Sculptures in Saint Boniface: Curositês by Francis Montillaud

Curositês

Curositês by Francis Montillaud is an allegorical scene reflecting on human nature. “Between vice and virtue, curiosity gives rise to a situation in which wonder, harmony, pride and suffering coexist.” The expressions of the children in the sculpture pieces are vivid and wonderful.

Garden of Sculptures in Saint Boniface: Curositês by Francis Montillaud

Garden of Sculptures in Saint Boniface: Curositês by Francis Montillaud

Jardin de Sculptures is a peaceful little garden. More permanent sculptures are planned. There is also space for temporary installations. To me, the feel of the garden changes a bit depending on the season and time of day.

Garden of Sculptures in Saint Boniface: Curositês by Francis Montillaud

Curositês becoming a silhouette on a winter evening

PIN ITGarden of Sculptures in Saint Boniface: Jardin de Sculptures in Winnipeg's French Quarter

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  • Reply
    Susan Cooper/findingourwaynow.com
    April 9, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    I do love sculpture gardens. This one love particularly engaging. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 14, 2017 at 5:07 pm

      Glad you enjoyed this, Susan.

  • Reply
    Ken Dowell
    April 9, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    Interesting stuff. I especially liked La Promise and your description of the meaning of the sculpture. It looks like a body with pieces missing, like head and shoulders. That could well fit into the idea of the impact of the roles of traditional marriage.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 14, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      Ken, there seems to be a lot going on with La Promise in terms of symbolism and interpretation.

  • Reply
    Tag Along Deb
    April 10, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Thanks, Donna. You’ve introduced me to a little spot in Winnipeg I’ve never visited. How charming! I need to check it out.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 14, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      Deb, you could probably easily walk or run by it.

  • Reply
    A Taste for Travel
    April 10, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    What an interesting story about the statue Monument by Michel de Broin ..it does look like draped burlap but is strangely beautiful as well

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 14, 2017 at 5:12 pm

      Michele, I too think Monument is beautiful. It appears simple at first, but it pulls you in somehow.

  • Reply
    Cathy Sweeney
    April 10, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    I’d love to take a stroll through St. Boniface and the garden of sculptures. What wonderful and interesting art. La Promise is quite thought-provoking. I’m really getting to see that Winnipeg has so much to offer. Quite an underrated city, I think.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 14, 2017 at 5:15 pm

      Cathy, I think Winnipeg has a lot to offer. It has been underrated for quite a while, although it is getting more recognition lately. I also think there are a lot of places like Winnipeg with much to offer but don’t get the attention of the more well-known locations.

  • Reply
    travelnwrite
    April 10, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    Each sculpture photo held me, but it was Monument that I returned to several times – what a powerful piece! Another most interesting post, Donna!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 14, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      Thanks so much.

  • Reply
    Jenny Freedman
    April 11, 2017 at 1:04 am

    The sculptures in this wonderful garden are fascinating. I love that you have told the story behind them as well. I had a little laugh when you described the unveiling of the Monument!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 14, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      Jenny, it would have been fun to see the faces of people at the unveiling.

  • Reply
    Doreen Pendgracs
    April 11, 2017 at 7:22 am

    My goodness, Donna. I didn’t know there was a sculpture garden in St. Boniface! Thx for sharing it with us here.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 14, 2017 at 5:19 pm

      Doreen, it’s fun to discover new places in the home area, isn’t it?

  • Reply
    Carolina Colborn
    April 11, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    Some very interesting sculpture here. La Promise to me examines the conflicted woman, period, where all the garments are shown but the actual body is nowhere. Monument, on the other hand, to me signifies that every monument is draped and revealed only to each person according to his unique worldview. Some interesting pieces indeed!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 14, 2017 at 5:19 pm

      Carol, these are definitely a couple of interesting pieces, filled with meaning.

  • Reply
    RoseMary Griffith
    April 12, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    What a great garden with wonderful sculptures. I liked each one more than the previous one and then all over again. The children are fantastic. I like Ken’s comment on the wedding dress. Just marvelous.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 14, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      RoseMary, I’m glad you enjoyed the sculptures in this post.

  • Reply
    Jeri Walker (@JeriWB)
    April 12, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Sculpture gardens can be a lot of fun. I remember having a lot of fun in Chicago with the installments that were all over the city.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 14, 2017 at 5:22 pm

      Jeri, I like sculpture gardens too. They are a lot of fun.

  • Reply
    travelgalcindy
    April 12, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    This looks like a wonderful spot to wander. We’ve never made it to St Boniface, so I guess we need to put it at the top of the list on our next trip north!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 14, 2017 at 5:23 pm

      Cindy, if you make it here you’ll have to let me know. It would be nice to meet and I’d have a lot of ideas of things for you to see and do.

  • Reply
    alison abbott
    April 14, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Outdoor sculpture gardens are such a lovely way to spend some time and what a diverse collection they have in St. Boniface. I particularly like Entre Chien et Loup. So colorful and creative.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 14, 2017 at 5:24 pm

      Alison, this garden does have a diverse collection. I will be watching to see what they add to it.

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