Public Art – Ripple

While conducting their research for this project, artists Wade Baker and Mary Tasi of Sky Spirit Studio heard from many people about how the Bow River brings them peace.

They studied the natural and built design elements in the Inglewood community in Calgary – fencing, gardens, doors, tree grates, Bow River eddies, swirls, water patterning and stones. Symbolically, during the River Blessing held by respected Blackfoot elder Randy Bottle on April 18, 2015, a water circle with at least seven pathways emerged when a stone was thrown into the river. Taking inspiration from the circle, Sky Spirit researched walking circles and river mythologies from various cultures.

The resulting art concept is called, Ripple.

This nearly 10-metre diameter walking circle is designed to be a meaningful way to consider the river. It consists of an east entrance facing the rising sun. Seven walking pathways wind in towards a central meditative space which has a buffalo, eagle, otter and beaver motif, representing the four compass directions and the four seasons: birth (eagle/east), youth (otter/south), middle age (beaver/west) and wisdom age (buffalo/winter).

There is a contrast between the symmetry of the seven paths and the meditative process, and the continually changing energy and nature of the Bow River. The seven paths also represent the seven teachings of humility, respect, truth, courage, honesty, love and wisdom. There is a subtle break added to the walking circle, allowing a mythical river to symbolically flow through the circle.