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Canada 150 pottery exhibit celebrates Canada’s cultures during confederation

Ottawa Citizen
June 19, 2017

A bed of 9,000 flowers and feathers has sprung up on the Museum of Nature’s lawn. But this garden isn’t alive, it’s ceramic.

‘Populace’ is a hand-made monochromatic exhibit comprised of ceramic pieces by the Ottawa Guild of Potters, in honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

Hilde Lambrechts, the designer behind the exhibit, said the group used fleurs de lys for the French, roses for the British and the feathers to represent indigenous people — all groups who were living in Ottawa at the time of confederation.

“Populace reflects on the populace of the past and the populace that has made it today,” said Lambrechts.

The sculpture is made up of 3,000 of each symbol and not reflective of population numbers.

Lambrechts said all of the emblems are all in beige hue because the group did not want one symbol to stand out more than another.

In March 2016, Kirstin Davidson, the coordinator for the project, responded to an email from the Ottawa Guild of Potters looking for artists for  Canada 150 grants.

Davidson connected with scientist turned artist Lambrechts and communications person Kim Lulashnyk, after sending out an email for assistance.

Davidson said she was inspired by the symbol of poppies in England and thought that the project needed to be “a Canadian thing.”

“I called one of the consultants at the Odawa Native Friendship Centre and said here’s what our project is, here’s what we have and here’s what we know. How do we properly honour and emphasize the Algonquin’s who were here at the time of Confederation,” said Davidson.

“She said there are birds in all indigenous culture,” said Davidson.

Populace is funded by Ottawa’s 2017 Arts, Culture and Heritage Program and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

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