Rite of Passage

New Public Art Installation by Deborah Dallyn at the WI Hall

Gabriola artist Deborah Dallyn has completed her public art installation that was commissioned by the Gabriola Arts Council through a juried competition almost four years ago. The piece, entitled Rite of Passage, has been installed along the Women’s Institute Trail in the woods behind the WI Hall. Consisting of a reflecting pond and a hand-built wooden boat suspended from the surrounding trees, the work is an ideal piece for Gabriola: a reflection of both woods and the sea, which—when combined with a breeze, the right light, and a contemplative mind—offers a powerful experience for the viewer. In her artist’s statement, Dallyn says,

All life comes from the sea, and our relationship to it evolves through contemplation of our physical experience with it. This illusion and reflection opens a door to spirituality through memory, and the ancient symbol of the water and the boat will resurface with new meaning. This work is reflective of other ages, creating—through the imagination—images of what is not present, and a contemplation of both the past behind us and a future that is uncertain.

The work was formally launched with a reception on Monday, August 10, in conjunction with an exhibit in the WI Hall of Dallyn’s photo-collages and 3-D sculptures.

Deborah Dallyn is an internationally renowned multimedia artist whose installations have been seen across Europe and B.C., and whose work has been exhibited in the U.K. and internationally. She is concerned with ideas about the environment—both internal and external—and makes use of familiar, found items that are carefully constructed into objects or installations that discover new narratives about old concerns. Some of her works pay homage to those who have dared to stand alone; others are concerned with affairs of the spirit and use water and light. Objects often have a surreal edge that masks a serious engagement. Dallyn has lived on Gabriola for many years.

This project was generously supported by The Vancouver Foundation. Dallyn and GAC would also like to thank Stan and Maxine McRae for allowing one of their trees to be part of the installation, Island Tree Service for expert tree wrangling, Silva Bay Shipyard School Society for the boat, Bob Wyche for his expert contribution, project mentors Kate Wood and Ocean Mussack, and GaLTT for creating the trail. Thanks also to the team of willow workers who created the willow gate leading onto the trail and the willow orbs adorning the woods.

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