Hamilton Then and Now
Hamilton Community Centre, Richmond, BC
Art critic and curator Ann Rosenberg wrote the following about Hamilton Then and Now:
Street names and to a lesser degree maps, are crucial to the essential historical meaning and the educational value of the piece. The four major wall panels and the table read like a graphic novel, a cartoon or an architectural schematic, packing in as much information as possible in a very clever way. I believe the installation’s essential message could be grasped by someone who can only read very little English.
The four back-lit panels in the inviting lounge furnished with warm, orange patterned chesterfields are each 36” tall X 24” wide. The unnamed streets and highway interchanges in the far left panel are mirrored in the far right panel by a similar graphic. In each, the word “NOW” is prominent at mid point over a strong black line. This line is continued in ghost form through the central panels where a few inches below, the word “then“ is inscribed on the left and echoed on the right in the lower quarter where there are bold images of the first Hamilton school and dredging equipment. The names of those prominent in the community’s early history are arranged showing their occupations. Finally, current street names that honour those remembered above are shown near the bottom of the panels.
The table in “Hamilton Then and Now” communicates another fascinating aspect of the area’s history. Eric Fiss, the City of Richmond’s Public Art Planner told me in that “Richmond was the first municipality in Canada to petition and get money from the provincial government to provide housing and land to veterans who returned from service in WWII. The loans became available from 1942 onwards. The community where the lots and acreages were clustered is indicated by the map graphic on the table. The house-type featured on one of its curved sides is faithful to what families lived in and can help a person discover the two that still exist today.”
This second Richmond Public Art Project by Weinberg features imagery that’s CNC machined, then resin filled in thermo-formed shapes of a thick, translucent, eco friendly material called Corian. Using new materials is typical of her modus operandi because it allows her to expand “her technical repertoire” and update the passion for technology she had while studying for her BSc. degree in Surrey, England in 1980.
All the elements in the installation were made in consultation with experts of many kinds. The Corian, in conjunction with the LED panels used for the backlighting of the wall panels, ensures that this project is in integrity with the LEED specifications for this City of Richmond project.