Sometimes you need an eye in the sky to appreciate the beauty of a landscape or a piece of art. This is especially the case with the Aircraft Sculpture ‘Gravitas’ by Keith Harder in Alberta, Canada.
Aerial footage of Aircraft Sculpture ‘Gravitas’ by Keith Harder
The art installation doubles as a memorial and is easily missed when you drive towards Cayley, heading south on the old Highway 2A, also known as Range Road 290. However, the aerial footage from a drone tells an entirely different story.
“Gravitas takes the form of a 75-meter-diameter compass rose with the full-size planform outlines in prairie grass of twelve Avro Anson aircraft pointing inwards towards an open circle of prairie grass. Each of the twelve Anson shapes embraces parts of actual former Anson aircraft of the BCATP. The entire work is made from gravel and grass. It is designed to be consumed by the landscape that gave it birth, says Dave O’Malley.”
The creator of the Gravitas art installation, Keith Harder of the Department of Fine Arts, University of Alberta explains:
“Gravitas is about the weight of time. It is also about the entropy of the material world, of memory, of dreams; how all such things go to ground; it is about death and dying. It is about excursion and return; of overcoming the forces of gravity and of adversity. It is about courage, about rising up and extending the horizon. It is about the birth of possibilities and living.
I have been working with the curator (Dave Birrell) of the Bomber Command Museum, on a series of art works based on a number of derelict aircraft from the era of the BCATP program. These few artifacts are some of the only palpable remainders of a galvanizing moment in the history of Western Canada; a time that was fraught with desperation and hope as well as romance and grievous tragedy. This moment produced stories where much of the mystery that comprises the human condition is condensed.
In their current state these artifacts have little value beyond their use as reference material for aircraft restorers. But to say they have no value at all is to view any ruin from history, whether cathedral, castle or city, as merely rubble standing in the way of another condo project. Rather, all these things are a reminder of who we are, what we need to overcome, and to what we might aspire. It is my intention to arrange these artifacts in a setting that will stimulate such reflection and highlight these values. The Anson artifacts are emblematic of certain pieces of the past that are forgotten, repressed or seen as not useful. However, that past is still with us and deserves an accounting.”
You can watch the aerial footage of the Aircraft Sculpture ‘Gravitas’. here on Vimeo.
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Photo: clogie@Panoramio and Dave O’Malley