Stolen public art installation found

Missing pieces of the sculpture INFRA were found in a campus parking lot.

Missing pieces of the sculpture INFRA were found in a campus parking lot.

Pieces of a public art installation stolen from the University of Saskatchewan campus sometime on Nov. 13 or 14, 2013 were located  in Lot 7 on the east side of Campus Drive on Dec. 11 by U of S Protective Services.

“We’re really happy and relieved for this turn of events,” said City of Saskatoon community initiatives manager Kevin Kitchen in the StarPhoenix. “That someone would remove artwork and damage others was upsetting to say the least.”

Titled INFRA, the installation consists of eight life size wolf figurines made of fibreglass, resin, pigments and LED lights that glow and replicate the real animal’s thermal imaging signature. The piece was created by Toronto artist Tonya Hart.

INFRA was set up in the trees along College Drive across from Bottomley Avenue on Nov. 5 as part of the City of Saskatoon’s Placemaker public art program.

The art installation was showcased during Toronto’s Scotiabank Nuit Blanche and the Winterlude festival in Ottawa in 2011 and returned this summer as part of a four-month long rooftop exhibit in downtown Ottawa. After so many successful showings, Hart said she was surprised to hear that her art had been vandalized and stolen.

“Nothing like this has ever happened before and this is the fourth exhibition of INFRA,” Hart wrote in an email to the Sheaf, adding that she had anchored the sculptures to the ground with screws.

When the initial theft occurred, the rest of the sculpture was removed from the installation’s site by the City of Saskatoon. INFRA was relocated to the top of the building at the Cameco Meewasin ice skating rink beside the Delta Bessborough Hotel on Dec. 16.

Hart also said that she hasn’t dealt with her art being stolen since she was in high school when her smaller sculptures would go missing.

The Placemaker program installs pieces of art from independent artists on a temporary basis in public locations around Saskatoon. There are currently 23 pieces on display in the Broadway, Downtown, Riversdale and Sutherland Improvement Districts, College Drive, 33rd Street West and River Landing areas.

INFRA was leased to the City of Saskatoon through the program for six months at a cost of $5,000.


Photo: Chuck Tindall