Sculptures – both municipal and private business – put Ajax on the public art map

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Published April 27, 2022 at 10:47 am

'Solar Sail' at the Ajax Public Works HQ

From quilts and murals to totem poles the Town of Ajax has no shortage of interesting public on display.

But it is her sculptures, displayed all over town in both municipal and private business settings, that really set Ajax apart.

In 1968, acclaimed artist Ron Baird was commissioned by Public Works Canada to create an abstract piece of art for the Ajax Post Office. Often referred to as an anchor, reflecting the Town’s naval heritage, the sculpture is made of corten steel or weathering steel, that rusts but does not oxidate. For more information on the artist and his works, visit www.ronbairdartist.com

Designed to represent a ‘flush’ of birds (a flock of birds frightened from cover), Henry Kortekaas’ ‘Birds in Flight’ metalwork installation is situated across from the Ajax GO Station.

A second Kortekaas commission, this interesting piece protrudes out of the ground at the main entrance to the BMW Car Dealership near Salem Road and Highway 401. The metal ‘wings’ were designed to whistle as the wind passes through them. Located at a busy intersection, it has become a focal point for the area while complimenting the architectural and landscape design of the site.

‘Communitree’ by Geordie Lishman

Commissioned as part of the Shell Station site plan in 2012, this Geordie Lishman sculpture represents the progress of Ajax from its industrial roots and rich natural heritage to a culturally diverse and healthy community. The tree represents growth and features faces of various cultural backgrounds. The windswept limbs symbolize resilience while the blossoms signify the prosperity and beauty of the community.

A second Lishman commission, this one a co-creation of Geordie and his famous father Bill (Father Goose) Lishman for the new Town Hall design, is a fountain designed to describe Ajax as it “exploded into existence out of chaos.” Straight linear tubes stretch towards the sky while water flows over their tops, making them shimmer. For more information, visit www.williamlishman.com or www.geordielishman.com

This ‘Metalwork Gate’ piece by Bruce Melanson once stood outside the entrance to Council Chambers at Town hall, dividing the courtyard and a smaller area belonging to the Ajax Public Library. During the Town hall retrofit, the artwork was moved and now rests on the north side of the wall of the River Plate Room.

A fantastic example of solar creativity, the giant ‘Solar Sail’ is a one-of-a-kind solar structure that combines outstanding engineering and design with Ajax’s nautical heritage. Designed by Solera Sustainable Energies, this photovoltaic form-and-function sail is a major focal point for the facility, generating energy for the building, and drawing people’s vision to the 100-kW solar installation project on the facility’s roof.

With the inscription “Dedicated to a man and his vision”, this sculpture – ‘The Sire’ by Jules Roman -welcomes guests to Casino Ajax and Ajax Downs, a premiere entertainment destination in Ajax.

‘Vasika mhuri’ by Passmore Mashaya

 

Created in Zimbabwe, ‘Vasika mhuri’ showcases the images of several people carved into serpentine stone. The people are intertwined together, depicting themes such as family, community, celebration, play, diversity and union. The sculpture is a family creation by Passmore Mashaya.

An interactive sculpture dubbed ‘The Storm’ and created by Amanda Berry and Henry Kortekaas & Associates Ltd. is a collage of materials including a spiral of flowing native grass, waves of concrete and a mounded landform that spirals up to a galvanized steel lightning strike, which also symbolizes sails of boats that move across the lake.

The four forged metal panels for ‘Woodhaven’ use whimsical stick figures to depict themes of adult and youth interaction, community and family, compassion and caring, and playfulness in the outdoors. Created by Mark Puigmarti, the panels are configured to mirror each other with the negative space in the centre.

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