Alberta’s Dream at The Bow | Downtown Calgary | June, 2015

[twitter]Everyone pays attention to the front of the Bow Tower. The concave structure opening on to a wide south facing plaza is an architectural gem on the Calgary skyline.

Throw in Wonderland, the imaginative sculpture of Alice at the base of the tower, and you can see the curb appeal of the structure.



But it is the backside of the Bow Tower that caught my attention last week. I parked on 6th Ave, just past Center St and hopped off to an event when the sculpture caught my eye.

I almost thought it was a performance artist, one of those people you see covered in silver body paint sitting perfectly still until someone walks by and then they spring to life.

But no.

The sculpture of a man, sitting and holding a tree on the backside of the Bow Tower is just that, a sculpture. The bronze is called Alberta’s Dream and is a self-cast portrait of artist Jaume Plensa (the same artist responsible for Wonderland at the front of the Bow).

The piece, also known as The Tree Hugger, has the figure hugging a real tree with place names of Alberta cities emblazoned across it. Edmonton is along the chest (the heart?), Calgary is along the back (the backbone of the economy?). Red Deer, Peace River, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, and others make appearances as well.

Alberta could hardly be called a tree hugging province (well, before our NDP government anyway) and to have this sculpture hidden around the backside of the Bow Tower, home to the province’s powerful energy companies is as much of a statement as the piece itself.

Jaume Plensa's Alberta's Dream

Alberta's Dream

Alberta's Dream

Want to know more about the art in downtown Calgary? Check out this map and take an Art Walk!


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