Bukowski installation unveiled in Burquitlam

Seven dangling orbs consisting of repurposed materials will welcome Sky Train users.

Kootenay artist Brent Bukowski

Look up!

When commuters walk into the soon-to-be opened Burquitlam Sky Train station in the Lower Mainland, they will be greeted by seven 20-sided orbs designed by Kaslo artist Brent Bukowski.

The installation, constructed from old bicycle and car parts, will dangle overhead while they head to their destination.

“The orbs are constructed using 12 aluminium mountain bike rims, while the inner core consists of automobile parts,” Bukowski told the Star after his design became public.

“There were all kinds of rules around how much they could weigh, since they’re being suspended from the roof, so they’re actually quite light. Each one weighs a maximum of 80 pounds.”

And it took him approximately six months of full-time work to complete the project, which also features translucent polycarbonate panels that allow passersby to see inside the spheres. It’s called Burquitlam: Between and Beyond.

“Historically Coquitlam was referred to as a place in-between, because it was the halfway point between New Westminster and Port Moody. The title acknowledges the history of that area while also looking at how it will be a community transformed by rapid transit.”

And he’s stoked about how it turned out.

“I couldn’t believe the patience and professionalism of all the contractors and the province. It was a wonderful collaboration.”

Bukowski currently has two pieces on display in Nelson: the Railtown bridge railing and Kootenay Time, a collaboration with his partner Arin Fay that’s currently being leased for display outside the CPR station.

This piece represents his largest scale project so far, and he’s excited about the momentum this is creating in his professional life.

“It gets lonely. Prior to these opportunities most of my work has been in a gallery setting, which has a timeline on it. So the idea of having something up for a very, very long time where so many people are going to see it I love it.”

Developers are anticipating the Sky Train will see 70,000 riders a day many of whom will have to pass under his sculpture routinely. And he hopes that means they’ll take time to reflect on his environmental message.

“I’ve always had environmental themes to my work and I’ve always used recycled materials. I love public transit and I love that we’re reducing automobiles from the roads.”

The area being developed around the Burquitlam station is part of a transit-oriented development strategy that promotes foot and bicycle transit, which Bukowski believes makes the project the perfect fit for his work.

An opening reception for the station is being planned for November or early December, with the Sky Train beginning to run before Christmas.

 

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