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 will be exhibited in Ottawa and Gatineau in 2021.

Seeing the Forest for the Trees New

Seeing the Trees for the Forest depicts a Canadian forest by using another aspect of Canada’s natural heritage, namely, animals. What looks at first glance to be a grove of trees is actually made up of various tree-dwelling and climbing animals clung to each other forming the trunks, with birds in flight forming the leaves. This artwork invites us to think about how individuals of different backgrounds come together to form communities within our larger society. By presenting the scene as a multi-layered and textured optical illusion, the artist aims to immerse the viewer in an experience of discovery and wonder.

C.M. Duffy is an illustrator and visual artist based in Toronto. His work is inspired by the natural world and playfully explores themes of surrealism, camouflage, illusion, and survival.

This work was inspired by "Singular Plurality", the slogan of Canada’s Guest of Honour presence at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany. See the Forest for the Trees can be seen on the stairs connecting Confederation Park and the Mackenzie King Bridge in Ottawa.

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather aims to question the quality of what brings us together. Is it our appearance? Our beliefs? Our experiences? Or is it the intention of the journey ahead of us? What makes a country remarkable in the variety of people that move it forward? Presenting three iconic Canada geese in multiple colours, amid a stream of plants, flowers and growth, this artwork invites us to think about how we “flock together” despite our differences and how we can celebrate Canada’s singular plurality.

This work is a collaboration between two Toronto-based artists, Caitlin Taguibao and Andrea Manica, whose individual works share a focus on personal experience and self-reflection. Caitlin is a freelance illustrator, mural painter and graphic designer, whose work draws on plant lore and personal stories. Andrea is a freelance illustrator, mural painter, and artist, whose work is inspired by feelings, symbols, and purpose.

This work was inspired by “Singular Plurality”, the slogan of Canada’s Guest of Honour presence at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany. Birds of a Feather can be seen at the York Street steps in the ByWard Market.

Art Puzzle: Birds of a Feather

Print and assemble the puzzle pieces of Birds of a Feather, a public art piece by Caitlin Taguibao and Andrea Manica that aims to question what brings people together.

Video - Birds of a Feather and Unity - two new art installations in Canada’s Capital Region

Unity

The concept of Unity is simple and symbolic. The houses represent humans and the pathways represent nature, but together they symbolize unity, among ourselves and with nature. The houses gradually increase in number starting from a single house at the bottom, showing the connection between the individual and the community. This colourful and playful image is not meant to look realistic, but rather to suggest an idea of unity that can be found anywhere, in the past, present, and, most important for us, the future.

Yasaman Mehrsa is a visual artist, born and raised in Tehran, Iran, and now based in the Greater Toronto Area. She has a passion for public art and strives to create works that are distinctive, engaging and memorable. Her goal is to inspire those who see her work to look more carefully at the world around them and to discover beauty in unusual places.

This work was inspired by “Singular Plurality”, the slogan of Canada’s Guest of Honour presence at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany. Unity can be seen at the Plaza Bridge steps linking the Rideau Canal and Senate of Canada.

Art Puzzle: Unity

Print and assemble the puzzle pieces of this playful, engaging, eye-catching and welcoming public art piece.

Art Puzzle: Unity

The Gather-Ring

Winner of three Ottawa Urban Design Awards, including the People’s Choice Award

The Gather-Ring is a new public artwork inspired by two iconic symbols that are deeply rooted in Indigenous traditions, the Tree and the Dream Catcher. Trees have always played a vital role across the land on which Canada was founded, bearing witness to our histories. Dream Catchers have the power to capture our positive thoughts, dreams, and visions, offering to lead us towards a bright future. The Tree, represented here by the circular cedar base, and the Dream Catcher, by the patterned canopy with hand-blown glass pendants above, are both brought together within The Gather-Ring.

Manuel A. Baez (Designer, Architect (New York)) and Charlynne Lafontaine (Artist) created The Gather-Ring as an interactive art piece meant to evoke diverse cultural interpretations and offer a symbolic circle for cultural exchange, storytelling, discussion and reflection. At night, The Gather-Ring is illuminated, providing a memorable visual experience!

We invite you to discover this original artwork, located on the Portage Bridge Plaza in Ottawa, until September 2021.

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.

Nākatēyimisowin - Taking Care of Oneself

This mural exhibit is in the recreational pathway tunnel under Wellington Street near the Portage Bridge. Nākatēyimisowin - Taking Care of Oneself (translation from Plains Cree), highlights the work of four Indigenous artists from different regions of Canada.

This exhibit explores how vulnerability and reflection are both integral and beneficial to active resistance. The selection of artists and exhibit content was coordinated by Joi T. Arcand, a photo-based artist from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation – Treaty 6 Territory in Saskatchewan, currently living in Ottawa. The artists include:

  • Glenn Gear, who is of Inuit ancestry, was born in Newfoundland and Labrador and currently lives in Quebec: Ommatik – Heart (translation from Inuttitut, Labrador)
  • Tara-Lynn Kozma-Perrin, who is of Cree ancestry and lives in British Columbia: We Are Resilient
  • Cedar-Eve Peters who is Anishinaabe, Ojibwe, was born in Ontario and currently lives in Quebec: Shifting of Energies
  • Michelle Sound, who is a member of the Swan River First Nation and Red River Métis and lives in British Columbia: Kahkiyaw acāhkosak – All the Stars (translation from Plains Cree).

This project is a joint undertaking in partnership with Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. Nākatēyimisowin - Taking Care of Oneself will be displayed until October 2021.

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 2021.

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.

Plaza Bridge Photo Exhibit

Spanning the Rideau Canal, near the National War Memorial, Plaza Bridge is the site of Science Exposed, an outdoor photo exhibit on display until October 2021.

Science Exposed

Scientific researchers in Canada see amazing things through the microscope lens and out in the field. Each year, the Science Exposed research image contest highlights the work of scientists across the country. This exhibition features some of the finalists’ submissions from the past five years of the contest. Their images provide a glimpse into ongoing Canadian research, and reveal the beauty and wonder of their scientific observations. Science Exposed and La preuve par l’image (the French version of this contest) are presented by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and Acfas.

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