Sunday November 19, 2017

A colonial-era statue hits the water

Performance artists Amy Lam and John McCurley created a replica of a bronze statue of King Edward VII (Emperor of India from 1901 to 1910) on his horse, cut it in half and sent it floating down Toronto’s Don river.

Performance artists Amy Lam and John McCurley created a replica of a bronze statue of King Edward VII (Emperor of India from 1901 to 1910) on his horse, cut it in half and sent it floating down Toronto’s Don river. (Reuters)

Listen 13:58

It certainly has been an eye-catcher.

A king on a horse, sliced in half, bobbing down Toronto's Don River, on four consecutive Sundays, a commissioned public art project.

The King is Edward VII, and the horse, a majestic beast. 

The floating flotsam is a replica of the imposing statue that stands in the middle of Queen's Park — the seat of Ontario's legislature.

That original statue, cast in bronze, weighing about five tons, has had its own improbable journey.

CANADA-ART/

The performance artists hope the floating statue will spark a conversation about colonialism and its role in our public spaces. (Chris Helgren/Reuters)

It was made in England. Then shipped to India, and installed in New Delhi in 1922 with much fanfare. Then in 1968, over two decades after Indian independence, it was boxed up and delivered to Toronto.

That story, and the river spectacle, intrigued Aparita Bhandari

She grew up in New Delhi, hearing stories about long lost relics of India's colonial past. Here's her story: "Undercurrents."

Click 'listen' above to hear the documentary. 


The fourth and final floating performance takes place in Toronto's Don River on Sunday Nov. 19, 1 to 4 p.m. 

Here's a short video of the performance, taken by freelancer Aparita Bandhari:

King Edward VII statue floating down the Don River. Video by Aparita Bandhari.0:17