Public Art in Newfoundland and Labradorby Newfoundland & Labrador
Living on the edge of North America, our population spent many years isolated from much of the world and in doing so, created a culture that’s one of a kind. And you can see that, not only expressed in the people, but in the rich, colourful environment we created around us. It’s in our architecture, our crafts, the names of our towns, and even in the way we built our roads – it’s all a bit off-kilter.
Warm and welcoming, fun loving and funny to the core, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are no strangers to self-expression. It shines through from their natural creativity, unique language, and knack for the arts. From traditional crafts, cooking, and toolmaking, to accordions, fiddles, and music, and a tangled tale or two in between, you’re sure to encounter our artists along your adventures.
Makkovik Mural Project by Michelle Nochasak, Hannah Gear, Seth Ford & Jesse Ford
Artist Jessica Winters organized a program to create a mural inspired by the community and the Inuit way of life. Located on Frank’s General Store in Makkovik, the mural pays homage to the Inuit’s connection to animals and nature and was done by Michelle Nochasak, Hannah Gear, Seth Ford & Jesse Ford.
Making Fish Petty Harbour by Ginok Song
On the Petty Harbour Town Office building you will find a mural dedicated to the women of the inshore fishery in Petty Harbour. While men went out to sea to fish, women were left ashore to tend to the many other tasks such as cutting, cleaning, and drying the fish in addition to their children and home life.
Great Fire of 1892 by Julie Lewis
Throughout the downtown core of St. John’s you will find numerous statues and murals, including the artwork on McBride’s Hill remembering the Great Fire of 1892. What started as a small fire in a stable from a lit pipe igniting a bundle of hay resulted in devastating loss and collapse of a major section of the town, leaving 11,000 people homeless, $13 million in property damage (approximately $400 million in today's dollars), and the town’s structure forever changed. See if you can find the flame icon in the mural to locate the stable where the fire began.
A Time Statue by Morgan MacDonald
The sculpture was created to represent St. John’s designation as a Cultural Capital of Canada to celebrate the musicians, painters, wordsmiths, craftspeople, performers, and many other artists that breathe life into the city and people. Located on George Street, the hub of culture and entertainment, it honours three of the province’s finest artists: singer-songwriter Ron Hynes, pioneer of accordion music Wilf Doyle, and comedian and actor Tommy Sexton.
John Cabot Monument by Hans Melis
“O buona vista!” The first words declared by Italian navigator John Cabot upon his arrival on the island of Newfoundland, the area that is now known as Bonavista. Explore John Cabot Municipal Park at Cape Bonavista, where it is said Cabot first set foot in 1497, to see the statue and monument.
Great Auk Memorial by Todd McGrain
Located on the rocky shoreline of Joe Batt’s Point on Fogo Island you will find a five foot tall sculpture of The Great Auk commemorating their last known location. These flightless seabirds lived and bred on nearby Funk Islands where they were hunted to extinction in the 19th century for their meat and feathers.
Botwood Murals by the Botwood Mural Arts Society
You never know what you will come across when exploring Newfoundland & Labrador. How about the largest mural in Atlantic Canada? The outport community of Botwood situated in the Bay of Exploits is home to The Botwood Murals Art Society, the creators of 13 large murals painted throughout the town by various artists highlighting the vibrant history of the area. The artwork celebrates everything from the province’s first airmail delivery, a detailed portrait of local hero and town doctor Dr. Twomey, workers laying railroad tracks, and an incredibly detailed illustration of Beothuk history and the story of Demasduit, a young Beothuk woman, pictured above. The entire town is an outdoor art gallery waiting for you to discover its stories.
Giant Squid by Don Foulds
The small community of Glover’s Harbour (2021 population: 55) is an unlikely home to a giant Guinness World Record Holder. In 1878, a 55-foot squid washed onto the beach, laying claim to the area as the site of the largest squid in the world, a mark that has yet to be beat. A life-sized statue was created in 2001 to honour this mammoth mollusk which you can see for yourself on the same beach it was found over 140 years ago.
passing where to by Robert Hengeveld
Passing Where To serves as a representation of resettlement, to preserve the memory of communities that have since been left behind. It was unveiled at the 2019 Bonavista Biennale and has since been relocated to its permanent home in Woody Point, Gros Morne National Park.
The Meeting of Two Worlds by Luben Boykov and Richard Brixel
Travel back in time to where Vikings once stood over 1,000 years ago at L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the only authenticated Norse site in North America where the first Europeans reached the new world. The Meeting of Two Worlds sculpture symbolizes the historical significance of human migration and the meeting of different peoples and culture. There have been discoveries linking five different Indigenous groups to the area prior to the Vikings arrival and at least one group after their departure.
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