The latest Art in the City project was unveiled at Charlottetown City Hall today. Artist Heather Millar was the honoured guest as her artwork was revealed at a public gathering and news conference.
The Art in the City program was established in 2011 when the City of Charlottetown was named a Cultural Capital of Canada. The cost-shared program is a collaboration between the City and the PEI Council of the Arts, with the Arts Council providing the administration.
"The City of Charlottetown and PEI Council of the Arts started the Art in the City program together because we had a shared desire to celebrate local talent, promote Charlottetown’s art scene, and create a lasting public art legacy in our community," said Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee. "Heather Millar’s original artwork is a great addition not only to City Hall but also to the collection of existing Art in the City projects. We’re honoured to be able to showcase Heather’s creative work."
Millar’s piece, The Start Of Something Great, is a painting that represents the beginning of the Confederation Agreement during the 1864 Charlottetown Conference. Her interpretation of the momentous event is represented using the image of the iconic photo of the Fathers of Confederation posing on the steps of Government House and combining it with a stark backdrop of colour to convey a sense of importance and the anticipation of the union of Canada.
"I am delighted to have my painting ‘The Start Of Something Great’ chosen to represent the beginning of the Confederation Agreement and to have it hang proudly in City Hall," said artist Heather Millar. "This painting represents Canada's humble beginnings with the Fathers of Confederation as the main focus of the painting. The abundance of negative space above also comes into play as representative of the time it took to solidify the agreement and the anticipation our nation must have felt while waiting to become unified as one. As a contemporary painter, I am excited to contribute a tangible piece of history to our already rich tapestry of Canadian Heritage."
The painting will be displayed at Charlottetown City Hall and available for public viewing during regular business hours.
"The Council is very pleased with our collaborations with the City of Charlottetown that are, over time, building an excellent collection of public art that speaks to this city's past, its present, and its future," said Darrin White, Executive Director of the PEI Council of the Arts. "Heather's new work helps to illustrate to all citizens, including Mayor and Council, that our future rests in our imaginations, and our willingness to fulfill our dreams."
City of Charlottetown
ABOUT ART IN THE CITY:
Art in the City began with the designation of the City of Charlottetown as a Cultural Capital of Canada in 2011. In its first year, the program saw the creation of nine new works spread around the city, including the now iconic "Bluefin Bullet" at the corner of Richmond and Queen Streets. The program continued with the commissioning of the "Heron" at the base of Queen Street, near the Merchantman Pub.
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
Born and raised just outside of Edmonton, Alberta, Heather Millar began her art exploration early on in childhood. Still in her teens, she began a four-year Fine Arts program at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, graduating in 1998. From there she met and married her husband and moved back to Edmonton for several more years before moving out to St. John’s, Newfoundland and, in 2008, putting down roots in Prince Edward Island.
Over the years she’s discovered a fondness for the intensity of strong images and nostalgic colour combinations and has applied this aesthetic to much of her work. Like many artists who practice full-time, her work has transformed and evolved, flowing between bodies of work representing inanimate objects, such as beloved childhood toys, a love for our natural world including many Island creatures such as foxes, crows and barn owls, and a desire to reanimate old anonymous family photos and other figurative images into works on canvas.
Millar’s work can be found in private collections worldwide and is represented in PEI, as well as in Toronto, Ontario.