Public Reception & Sculpture Unveiling:
Thursday, September 15 at 7 pm | Free
Don Russell (Qalipu Mi’kmaq/Acadian French)
Circle Mound, 2016
Earth, plant materials, and reclaimed locally-quarried limestone
Commissioned with funds raised by the AGG Volunteer Association with support from
the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance Program, 2016
Art Gallery of Guelph Collection
The Art Gallery of Guelph (AGG) has commissioned an outdoor sculpture, Circle Mound, by Aboriginal artist Don Russell. Circle Mound is the 39th permanent installation in the Donald Forster Sculpture Park.
Circle Mound is a gathering site or meeting place that encourages visitors to enter and interact with its various elements: earth, stone, plant matter, and open air. The sculpture reflects a First Nations’ worldview focused on the importance of the circle in concepts of time and spirituality. It is also a step toward meaningful reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and the community of Guelph, an acknowledgement of the history and presence of Indigenous peoples on this land: above all else, Circle Mound represents unity, cooperation, and gathering. The mounds that extend from the circle, which reference the two rivers that flow through Guelph, are intended to encourage discovery and play; while the circle itself offers serenity and contemplation. The sculpture also uses reclaimed limestone from Guelph’s historic Petrie Building (1882): an act of repurposing and returning the stones to the lands from which they came.
Circle Mound will be unveiled on Thursday, September 15 at 7 pm. The unveiling of the sculpture will also launch the Mush Hole Project, a reconciliation initiative that aims to respond to, explore, and transform our individual and collective understandings of the impacts of Canada’s residential school system on the people and places across our communities.
Don Russell grew up in the bayside community of Stephenville, Newfoundland, he identifies as Mi’kmaq (Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, Newfoundland) and Acadian French. Russell has practiced painting and sculpture for over twenty years. He is a graduate of the University of Guelph’s acclaimed School of Fine Art (1995) and of the Dundas Valley School of Art’s postgraduate program (2002). A hallmark of Russell’s work is his innovative approach to materiality, including his treed landscapes in dry charcoal pigment and microcrystalline wax on thick handmade paper, as well as works in oil on stretched industrial roofing rubber. Russell lives and works in Cambridge, Ontario and maintains a studio at Boarding House Arts in downtown Guelph.