Temporary exhibits 

Explore the art that adds warmth and vibrancy to the streets, parks and plazas of Ottawa–Gatineau. Temporary exhibits in Canada's Capital Region showcase artistic achievements from across the country, celebrate our diversity and highlight significant milestones in Canadian history.

Art in the Capital

Many factors contribute to shaping an impressive capital region and public art is one of them. The Art in the Capital program showcases public artworks created by Canadian artists. These exhibits are temporary and change regularly.

A number of thought-provoking, evocative and fun installations are exhibited in Ottawa and Gatineau in 2022.

(ex)CHANGE Stairs 2022 Competition Winners New

In Spring 2022, Canadian Heritage sent out a call for proposals, seeking a dynamic, impactful image that conveys the theme (ex)CHANGE. This broad theme invited artists to consider the constant state of flux that we all live in—on both a micro and macro level, personally and collectively, as change shapes us and as we shape change—and how we can learn and grow when we share these experiences.

These three winning works were inspired by the competition theme of (ex)CHANGE which invited artists to consider the constant state of flux that we all live in.

Mother Nature

Watch Video – Mother Nature, Zoetic and Dancing Shoes – Three new art installations in Canada’s Capital Region

Mother Nature explores the exchanges that occur within nature, focusing on the trinity of water, land and sky. Each flight of stairs focuses on a different part of the natural environment. Starting at the bottom, the flowing waves provide a safe habitat for freshwater life. Above this, the verdant land nurtures plants and animals. Finally, the expansive sky holds space for birds and clouds, while rain falls back to the earth, completing the cycle of life. By incorporating a single, small house, the artist wishes to highlight our shared responsibility to care for the environment that we depend upon as humans.

Natalie Very B. is a Polish-Canadian artist and illustrator based in Toronto. She is interested in the intersection of art and psychology and using her work as a tool for learning about the environment and oneself.

Mother Nature can be seen on the stairs connecting Confederation Park and the Mackenzie King Bridge in Ottawa until March 2023.

Zoetic

Meaning “related to life”, Zoetic depicts an interspecies collaboration that makes us consider the ways our behavior affects co-inhabitants of our ecosystems and the planet. This image depicts flora and fauna from land and sea in a surreal landscape, highlighting the mutual dependency between different species. The artist encourages the viewer to look at their own surroundings and think about our relationship with and responsibility to other species.

Dominic Laporte is an Ottawa-based muralist and illustrator whose work combines traditional painting with mixed-media techniques. Passionate about community-based and accessible art, he is inspired by his immediate surroundings and the connection between humans and their environment.

Zoetic can be seen at the Plaza Bridge steps linking the Rideau Canal and Senate of Canada until March 2023.

Dancing Shoes

Two figures dance hand-in-hand, surrounded by plants and flowers that illustrate the growth and understanding that occurs when exchanging with others. Each dancer has a unique style and colour palette: the left figure has sharp, angular lines and wears shades of green, while the right figure has softer, wavy lines and wears shades of reds. Notably, the two dancers also wear different styles of dancing shoes in their partners’ colour palette, connecting their styles together and representing the sharing of perspectives and experiences with each other.

Ashlyn Mundy is a Toronto-based artist and illustrator. Working in drawing, painting, and print-making, she employs various media and enjoys mixing materials and techniques to create textural images.

Dancing Shoes can be seen at the York Street steps in the Byward Market until March 2023.

We Are Seeds

We Are Seeds is an outdoor mural created in August 2021 by Claudia Gutierrez and presented by Canadian Heritage in collaboration with Zibi. Gutierrez, a Latin-Canadian artist, draws inspiration from the Mexican proverb: “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.” The mural responds to this time of crisis by celebrating the restorative power of perseverance and resilience. Two nurturing hands grasp a vase with foliage abundantly growing from its top and roots breaking free from its bottom. As we cautiously look forward to a time of reactivation and regeneration, the single falling leaf reminds us of the fragility that will always persist.

Claudia Gutierrez is an Ottawa-based artist who has specialized in painting and printmaking. More recently, she has pivoted to textile-based work to challenge the boundaries between art and craft. We Are Seeds was created with the assistance of Kiana Meness and Jose Palacios.

The mural is located at the intersection of Eddy Street and Alexandre-Taché Boulevard in Gatineau and will be on display for the next several years.

Our Shepherds

Our Shepherds depicts two shepherds standing face-to-face atop two sheep. The figures are notably connected by a long Pinocchio-like nose, a seeming indication of their deceitful intentions. The playful blue colour and simple, symmetrical structure of the sculpture act as an enticement to consider deeper meanings. Our Shepherds speaks of those who take power and those who are led, inviting viewers to question who are the shepherds and who are the sheep.

Our Shepherds was created by Montreal artist, Patrick Bérubé. It will be displayed at the Tin House Courtyard in the ByWard Market in Ottawa until October 2023.

Dialogue

The tall, slender silhouette of the work’s two-part structure contrasts with the strong horizontality of its setting. While the pure lines of these sculptural forms create space for multiple interpretations, their arrangement also evokes an exchange between two monumental figures. Their curves entwine in a movement recalling a pair of witnesses, dancers or sentinels leaning on each other for support.

Light sources emanating from within the two figures create a fluid, rhythmic dialogue, inviting us to linger.

Dialogue is an installation created by multidisciplinary artist Florent Cousineau. It can be seen on the upper plaza near the Alexandra Bridge in Ottawa until May 2023.

ByWard Market Courtyards Exhibit

The Sussex Courtyards are a sequence of five courtyards located in the ByWard Market in Ottawa. They are popular during the summer season and offer an oasis of tranquility and shade for visitors and locals, as well as providing seating areas, café terraces and boutiques. The Courtyards also provide the setting for outdoor exhibits of Canadian art across a range of themes.

Echoing the Land New

Watch Video – Echoing the Land

Echoing the Land features diverse works by First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists created between 1977 to 2020 that address resonance through the land and reflect upon Indigenous artist connections with territory that are expressed across generations, cultures, geographies, and languages. This exhibit began as a graduate course in Indigenous Curation hosted by the Indigenous Art Centre in conjunction with Carleton University’s Cultural Mediations PhD program, under the direction of Canada Research Chair Dr. Carmen Robertson.

Echoing the Land is presented by Canadian Heritage in collaboration with Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. The exhibition will be on display in the Clarendon and York Courtyards until March 2023.

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