Red Crouching Figures

A fascinating art work that appeared recently in Edmonton is called The Meeting by the artist Wang Shugang. It is made up of seven crouching figures in a circle. An eighth figure is placed alone across the street from The Meeting.

At one time, one of these figures was holding a circular mirror but it was not there when I visited the site. Our family’s fifteen-year-old, who passes the art work regularly, told me that for a while the mirror was being placed in the hands of different figures in the circle, until eventually it just disappeared.

It is a whimsical installation and seems to make people smile, which is something we all need right now.

The Meeting was originally exhibited at the 2007 G-8 summit meeting in Heiligendamm, Germany. Subsequently, the artist made his North American public art debut as part of the 2009-2011 Vancouver Biennale Exhibition. The website for that exhibition describes the work with these words:

“It is not without irony that the red figures are placed in a circle, static and crouching with cupped hands, open to various interpretations, from one of thoughtful contemplation to one of latent energy ready to leap up. Wang Shugang’s installation for the Vancouver Biennale, The Meeting, is painted a shade of red that is known as Chinese Red, the colour associated with the Chinese government and communism.” (via Jennifer Wong)

Someone with a sense of irony thought it would be a good idea to place this particular work conveying thoughtful contemplation and latent energy in this location. 118th Avenue is the subject of a lot of thoughtful contemplation and it houses a lot of latent energy. The neighbourhood generally, I think, is grateful both for both the art and the smiles it brings.

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