Concept and Treatment
RDP has created 7 large-scale, socially engaged public artworks in Toronto; all mosaic/mixed media mural works incorporating mid-relief and low-relief. Mosaic, as a medium, lends itself to homage, to tribute – historically, mosaic was used to create portraits of icons – ‘icon’ originally referred, primarily, to religious figures, but the term is more broadly understood today to mean representative of something of greater significance, a symbol – a figure that embodies certain qualities, spirit, or a movement.
|sketch (ink and watercolour on vellum)
It’s our intention to celebrate change makers in our LGBTTI2QQ communities seldom recognized or visually represented. The work we are proposing is in the spirit of homage and emblematic in nature: open to multiple interpretations, and not prescriptive. Our concept is to build a figurative mosaic – one single iconic, larger than life figure that we’ve come to call “Ella” – a bold, strong, and empowered woman, sheltered by a red umbrella. Emboldened by a will to effect change, Ella is a force to be reckoned with. The red umbrella, a symbol for sex workers’ rights and solidarity around the world, is emblematic of shelter from prohibitionist laws that sanction discrimination and violence against sex workers.
The vertically oriented artwork will be 12’ in height, and constructed on a marine plywood substrate. We’ll use a combination of tool and grinder cut, and manually shaped pieces in order to produce rich pattern, line work, and movement. Materials will include frost resistant glazed ceramic, porcelain, glass, and stone. We’ll build in the direct method, working offsite. The two to three panels will then be installed directly onto the installation site, where we’ll spend one week doing finishing bridge and grout work across sections to produce a seamless piece. The (painted) monochromatic wall will background the low-relief mosaic mural. Use of negative space will support and extend Ella’s iconic nature.
Our artistic team will include lead visual Anna Camilleri (artistic director, designer, and lead builder), co-lead artist Tristan R. Whiston (production director and builder), Katie Yealland (installation director and builder) and Chantelle Gobeil (builder).