Kitchener-Waterloo

Kitchener art installation to involve inmates from women's prison

The artist of a new art installation in downtown Kitchener wants to get people thinking about the notion of time, while also involving Indigenous women from the Grand Valley Institution in Kitchener.

Women at Grand Valley Institution will landscaping the area where the art is installed

Past, Present, Future, is an art installation by Ernest Daetwyler. The piece involves seven spheres, all made up of different materials. But Daetwyler hopes his installation will also help being healing to the Indigenous women who will work to landscape the area. (Jackie Sharkey/ CBC)

The artist of a new art installation in downtown Kitchener wants to get people thinking about the notion of time, while also involving Indigenous women from the Grand Valley Institution in Kitchener.

Ernest Daetwyler is the man behind the piece: Past, Present, Future.

A new public art installation in Kitchener will have inmates at a local prison maintaining the grounds around the piece.It's part of a new partnership between the Region of Waterloo and Grand Valley Institution. Artist Ernest Daetwyler explains the meaning behind the sculptures and how he hopes it might become a place of healing. 3:41

He installed seven spheres, all made out of different materials, beside the Region of Waterloo building, at the corner of Queen Street and Weber Street. 

Three of the spheres are made of limestone, which he said refers to a distant past.

A larger sphere is made of bricks, taken from some old downtown buildings. 

He said a reflective, steel sphere represents the present.

"The right here and now, where you see your self in a mirror at this very moment," Daetwyler explained, adding that the optical illusion will mean that a reflection may look different depending on the angle.

The final two spheres are elevated by two posts and represent the future. 

"They invite you to imagine the future and think how the future could look like, " he said.

Daetwyler said the metallic sphere is meant to get people to think about the present as one sees their reflection. (Jackie Sharkey/ CBC)

Bring healing 

Daetwyler said he wanted his art to go beyond being an installation. 

Through a partnership between the region and Grand Valley Institution, women from the prison will landscape the area around the art, adding gardens and Indigenous plants.

"I'm sure this site here could use some healing, for example, or could use a medicine garden," Daetwyler said.

"This is open for First Nation women to react, to decide."

Daetwyler hopes that work also brings some form of healing to the women who participate. 

With files from the CBC's Jackie Sharkey