|view toward Mel Lastman Square|
|Maquette by Joseph Muscat, 2013.|
My obsession with the image of the cabin, a minimalist representation of a house, began 32 years ago while still a student at OCAD. I was drawn to this simple isometric form for reasons unknown to me at the time but which became clearer with the passage of time. In 1997, I took a trip to Moosonnee aboard the Polar Bear Express. In twenty-four hours I was transported from the frantic crowds of Union Station to the remote dirt roads of this James Bay outpost. On the way to and from Moosonnee, I passed hundreds of these remote one room cabins splayed among the trees of the boreal forests and low brush bush. These ubiquitous cabins, with their smoking chimneys suddenly took on a different meaning. It was a déja-vue followed by an Aha! moment which made a long lasting impression on my image repertoire ever since. I have drawn and painted, photographed, made prints of and constructed this icon throughout my entire career.
The open leaning skeletal structure consisting of a façade, a roof, and a side wall and stabilized by a floor base will stand in the middle of the shallow water pool in Mel Lastman Square. The sculpture embodies my long history of living and working in this Yonge and Sheppard neighbourhood. Besides the symbolic implications I attach to this image, I now know that my family’s uprooting from my native Malta during my teen years and settling in Toronto must have also been an influential factor. For the first time, my family owned a home and this feeling of security and comfort offered me the opportunity to later own my very own house and studio, bring up a family, teach and be conveniently close to all the amenities of the city of Toronto within just a quick subway ride.
Symbolically, HOMEOSTASIS represents both the personal yearning for and the right to shelter and protection. The sculpture stands tall and solid and yet its leaning stance and wind-sensitive wavering gives it a tentative and uncertain sensation. The sparse use of material does not take away from its solidity but gives it transparency and interaction with its surroundings and the use of primary colours gives it visibility and playfulness. As its namesake, this construction is caught in the act of maintaining equilibrium suggestive of the juggling act of every individual and family trying to make a comfortable living in a community close to the largest city in the country; it is also symbolic of the constant balancing act between the built and the open green environment.
HOMEOSTASIS will be installed in the water pool in Mel Lastman Square. Visit any time between July 2 and August 24.
Mel Lastman Square
5100 Yonge Street, Toronto
Thanks to the City of Toronto's Mel Lastman Square and the office of Councillor Filion for hosting this installation.
ABOUT JOSEPH MUSCAT
|Photo of Joseph Muscat by G. Akouna|