College tears down Davies sculpture

An Ontario college's destruction of a massive wooden sculpture by Haydn Davies has inflamed the family of the noted Canadian artist.

An Ontario college's destruction of a massive wooden sculpture by Haydn Davies has inflamed the family of the noted Canadian artist.

On Tuesday, the son of Haydn Davies travelled to the Lambton College of Applied Arts and Technology in Sarnia, Ont., to survey the remains of the cedar sculpture Homage, which the school tore down last week.

"My family feels this has bloodied the nose of Canadian art," Bryan Davies told the Sarnia Observer.

In 1974, the college commissioned Haydn Davies, who is currently in a Toronto hospital recuperating from a heart condition, to create the outdoor red cedar sculpture for placement near its entrance. It was his first public sculpture commission.

The Welsh-born Davies went on to create large-scale works for museums, galleries and other institutions in the Ontario cities of Toronto, Windsor and Burlington, as well as in Florida. His interior sculptures are in the permanent collections of museums and galleries in Rome, Venice and Belgium.

The college has said the wooden sculpture had become rotten in certain areas, was unstable and housed pests.

According to his son, the artist would like to see the dismantled artwork salvaged.

The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, of which Davies is a member, has also criticized the college's destruction of the sculpture.

The dismantling of Homage is a symbol of how the visual arts "are not placed highly in the estimation of the public," said academy president J. Alison Hymas.

The group is "extremely concerned about the lack of regard [for art] in the community at large," Hymas said, adding that the school could repair the situation by recognizing Davies and the sculpture with a plaque or some other type of permanent commemoration.