Portal, Public Art, Willows Beach, Oak Bay, Victoria, Heather Passmore

Changing the Message – Willows Beach Portal

Does Public Art have to be static & unchanging? Sometimes it can transition & morph into something more.

Portal, Public Art, Willows Beach, Oak Bay, Victoria, Heather Passmore
photo by SVSeekins

Portal, a sculpture along Willows Beach Esplanade, was initially installed as a large open ring framing the horizon like a portal on a ship. The reclaimed rope reminds me of so much flotsam lost at sea. Used as seating to perch on & grasping the rope frame for balance changes the artwork from a view to an experience. Not just a piece to look at— this art is a sculpture to view the world from.
I like the artist’s multi-dimensional messages.

Portal, Public Art, Willows Beach, Oak Bay, Victoria, Heather Passmore
photo by SVSeekins

Two years after the art installation, the open ring has morphed into a dream catcher. I reckon it still frames the view but now the message says so much more to me. The piece is still beautiful to look at & to view the world through but it has added layers…
It catches the sunrise, protecting us all from bad dreams. (We certainly need some of that with the exposure of residential school nightmares swirling around us!)

I like this, too, and wonder,
“Was the original artist expanding on her idea?”
Apparently not. Oak Bay Parks says they don’t know who in our community added to the Portal, but it wasn’t the artist.

Portal, Public Art, Willows Beach, Oak Bay, Victoria, Heather Passmore
photo by SVSeekins

Another year on, baby dream catchers are appearing on the web.
Intriguing…
Who adds these?
Has the public taken to the Portal as our own public art gallery?

Portal, Public Art, Willows Beach, Oak Bay, Victoria, Heather Passmore
photo by SVSeekins

Perhaps it’s truly become a piece of Community Art that we contribute to ourselves! A message of public support & healing…

Now, this raises more questions:
Who controls Public Art? The artist? The city? The public?
Are these changes vandalism?
art appropriation?
— or a greater form of art?

-30-

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