I shot the above video during a visit to the MosaicCulture Gatineau exhibition in Quebec, Canada. The giant living sculptures featured at the exhibition were created by growing thousands of annual bedding plants on steel armatures. The steel from provides the basic form of the sculpture. Like topiary, mosaiculture is a kind of horticultural art (i.e., art made from living plants), but it is this use of metal frames that makes mosaiculture unique.
The themes of the exhibition were heritage (with a focus on indigenous culture) and nature. The 45 sculptures at the exhibition were made made using 5.5 million plants.
One of the centerpieces of the exhibit was this stunning sculpture: Mother Earth — The Legend of Aataentsic.
The goddess Aataensic is the most important figure in the creation myth of the Huron people, but she is quite a dark deity. It was one of her two sons, Iouskeha, who sought to aid and nurture humans, making rivers and lakes and teaching humans to grow crops, hunt and use fire. Aataentsic, in contrast, brings death and disease, and she and controls the souls of the dead.
The following two sculptures present traditional trades.
Two large sculptures celebrated Chinese culture. One, of a lion dance, is shown below (this photo only shows one part of it).
The sculptures are surprisingly heavy. For example, each of the 56 birds in the Bird Tree sculpture, another centerpiece of the exhibition, weighs between one and three tons (unfortunately, I didn’t get any great shots of the whole tree).
The living sculptures were created by teams of landscape architects, engineers, horticultural mosaic artists and sculptor-welders. As many of the plants are seasonal, the appearance of some of the sculptures will change according to the season.
The event was organized by Mosaïcultures Internationales de Montréal and was was held in Jacques-Carter Park (just across the river from Ottawa’s Parliament Buildings) from 25 July to 15 October 2018. The sculptures featured in the video are, in order of appearance:
- Mother Earth — The Legend of Aataentsic
- Wisakedjak and the Creation of the World
- Born with the Sun
- The Raven and Moon Masks
- Bison (part of the Mother Earth display)
- The Voyageur
- Cellist and Ballerina
- Jos Montferrand: A Giant from Gatineau
- The Bird Tree
- The Man Who Planted Trees
- Canadian Horses
- Chief of the Undersea World — Bill Reid’s Killer Whale
- Polar Bear and Howling Wolf
- The Lobster Fisherman
- Three Ships from France
- The Prospector
- The Muskoxen
- The Puffins
- Joyful Celebration of Nine Lions
- All Aboard! Engine CPR 374
- The Winning Goal, Summit Series of 72
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police Horse and Rider
- Anne of Green Gables
- The Muskoxen
- Snowy Owls
- The Drum Dancer
This section includes discussion questions, a video, an art challenge and links to online photo galleries and websites.
Higher resolution images (e.g. 2048 x 1365) can be viewed online at:
- Flickr: Living Sculptures: Mosaïculture Gatineau 2018
- Google Photos: Living Sculptures: Mosaïculture Gatineau 2018
- Mosaïcultures Internationales de Montréal: mosaiculture.ca/?lang=en
- Imaginary Worlds: Once Upon a Time: What’s Mosaiculture? A short video from the Atlanta Botanical Garden that shows shows how mosaiculture sculptures are made.
- Which of the sculptures is most attractive to you? Why?
- What are some advantages of creating art from living plants?
- What are the disadvantages?
Create a mini-mosaiculture!
~video, photos and text by longzijun
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