Vong Phaonphanit and Claire Oboussier

A Land Of Refuge

2016

Ottawa - Canada

Finalist for the international competition for the National Memorial to the Victims of Communism in Ottawa, Canada.

In association with NAK Design Strategies and Public Art Management Toronto

The proposed work is a configuration of stelae in the form of a gently undulating and entirely permeable curtain. From a distance the slender triangulated monoliths form a collective identity, however up close they reveal individually finished surfaces or ‘skins’, echoing the distinct stories and experiences of different groups of refugees. Their trilateral shape is suggestive of movement forward from multiple provenances and towards multiple destinations. The work introduces a play of levels and vistas as well as the experience of a journey; the linearity of its form is tempered by two semi-circular landscaped ‘harbors’ on either side. These spaces evoke a sense of arrival as well as one of refuge – held within their shelter the viewer may feel a sense of protection or belonging. The configuration of the work permits the viewer to engage with both a sense of lostness and belonging, of journey and of arrival, which perhaps characterises the identity and the inner landscape of the refugee.

 

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