Vancouverís Coolest Public Art: The Monument for East Van
Photo: Scott Massey
Vancouver is still basking in the afterglow of the 2010 Winter Olympics and one of the best remnants of the Games is the public art that now decorates the cityís parks and buildings. For the next few weeks, Jaunted's Vancouver Embed Tuija Seipell of The Cool Hunter will be reporting on the best of the bunch.
Ken Lumís Monument for East Vancouver is definitely in the cool category of Vancouverís new public art. In its simplicity, earnestness and tongue-in-cheek quality, the funky sign-like sculpture matches the sensibilities of the area. The locals just call it "The East Van Cross."
An imposing landmark at the crest of East 6th Avenue and Clark Drive, it is visible from many vantage points, including the Skytrain. The East Van Cross is shaped like a Latin cross and bears the giant crossword "EAST VAN." According to the Vancouver-born Lum, the shape and wording are a well-known unofficial East Vancouver ďlogoĒ that he was able to trace back to at least the 1940s. This symbol has been seen in graffiti and T-shirts for a long time and Lum wanted to make it ďofficialĒ this way. The Monument for East Vancouver was erected in January 2010 as part of the Cityís Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program.
Photo: Ken Lum
The Cross overlooks some of Vancouverís up-and-coming areas. Main Street, running from Chinatown to South Vancouver, is an unofficial boundary between the cityís rougher East Side and the more affluent West Side. The section known as SoMa (South Main)Main Street between East 2nd Avenue and East 33rd Avenueis now a place of cool shops, restaurants and bars. The new inhabitants are artists, media types and young professionals, who buy up lofts here and gradually change the neighborgood.
Another eclectic and hip stretch is Commercial Drive from Broadway to Venables, where youíll find a mix of one-of-a-kind old European and funky current restaurants, cafes and shops.
Photo: Ken Lum
Outlined in cold, white LED light, the 20-metre-high cross evokes eerie notions of religion, assertion of identity, and hope. It even makes a little nod to Vancouverís illustrious history as the former Neon Capital of Canada.
About the Artist: Ken Lum, who is an internationally known artist and Guggenheim Fellow, often tackles strong themes of identity, space and politics in his sculpture, painting and photography.
Have you spotted any other cool outdoor art in Vancouver or other cities that you think deserves to be featured? Let us know in the comments!