Internationally acclaimed artist Alex Janvier is the signature artist for the Rogers Place Winter Garden. The artwork, Tsa tsa ke k’e (Iron Foot Place), evokes the Edmonton landscape and honours its continuing legacy as a meeting place. Janvier was selected from a prequalified list of Canadian and international artists to create an immense artwork for Edmonton’s newest public space. Janvier will translate his painting into a 150 m2 tile mosaic to be inset in the Winter Garden floor.
“This spectacular artwork by Alex Janvier will be in Rogers Place, one of the most iconic buildings owned by the City of Edmonton. This is a special way to honour our place on Treaty Six territory and celebrate our rich and shared history,” said Mayor Don Iveson. “The Winter Garden is a public space for everyone, and city building is about creating spaces to help people reach their potential, to promote learning and understanding, and to provide healing. This artwork, and Alex’s story, is a great example of how Edmonton is making that vision a reality.”
Alex Janvier was born in 1935 and is of Dene Suline and Saulteaux descent. He was sent to the Blue Quills Indian Residential School near St. Paul, Alberta at age 8 and said the discovery, and nurturing, of his creative instinct was a consolation at that time. He received formal training and graduated with honours from Calgary’s Alberta College of Art in 1960. Mr. Janvier’s style is highly distinctive and involves an eloquent blend of abstract and representational images with bright, often symbolic colours. His status, qualifications, unique visual style and deep connections to the Edmonton area made him the perfect fit for Rogers Place.
In describing the inspiration behind this artwork, Mr. Janvier said “the painting pays respect to the land area where Edmonton is located, highlighting the colours of beautiful sky, the stories of the area, and clear waters from far away mountains. All roads lead to the area, Edmonton, as it is a central destiny for all who came before, and who came after.”
The total commission is $700,000 and is one of the largest to date in Edmonton. “The selection of Alex Janvier as the signature artist for Rogers Place highlights the singular importance of the development, and marks an historic step forward,” said Paul Moulton, Executive Director of the Edmonton Arts Council. “I believe that Mr. Janvier, a world-renowned, respected Aboriginal artist, captures the spirit of the city, its history, and its people. The richness of his vision in a venue of this scope symbolizes our shared journey, in a voice of hope and reconciliation.”
Alex Janvier’s mosaic will be one of four major public art commissions in the area, as part of the City of Edmonton’s Percent for Art policy, which dedicates one per cent of qualifying construction costs to acquiring public art in City infrastructure. The Edmonton Arts Council manages the selection process, acquisition and conservation of Edmonton’s public art.