Story Tree

Submitted by NAMARA

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Client: Canada Goose Inc.

Location: Toronto, ON, Canada

Completion date: 2020

Project Team

Illustrations

Qavavau Manumie

West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative

Artist

Alex Fischer

NAMARA

Design & Fabrication Support

Steve Ferrara

Well and Good

Waterjet Fabrication & Installation Lead

Thomas King

Discreet + Discrete

Overview

Canada Goose commissioned Story Tree for their flagship Toronto location. This piece was conceived as a meeting place, where Canada’s North and South come together. Story Tree brings together Inuit artist Qavavau Manumie, known for his surreal drawings of arctic life and contemporary perspective on traditional Inuit knowledge and mythology, with Toronto-based Alex Fischer, whose subject matter spans Canadian landscape through abstract conceptual codes and speculations. The tree, a southern symbol of ancestry, knowledge and enduring strength grounds the piece in a familiar language. Story Tree’s limbs are in full bloom with whales, polar bear and arctic char flowering overhead. In nature, human, animal and plant life are in harmony only when we accept our interdependence. A gentle nod to the North, the teardrop shaped canopy points directly toward Kinngait, Nunavut. An audio piece accompanies the piece for a more sensorial experience. Layers of storytelling reflect the client’s arctic roots and commitment to the North, while providing retail staff with numerous stories to share with guests.

Goals

The installation was meant to be a focal point within the retail environment. We aimed for a piece that would have a small footprint, relative to the overall scale, and strong and layered narrative content. The cylinder base serves as seating for the 'meeting place' and also conceals the counterweight. We also considered the retail staff who would live with the piece daily. We wanted to ensure that 'surprises' would reveal themselves over time.

Process

Alex Fischer designed the piece with the representational items based directly on Qavavau Manumie's drawings. The cut-out format references Manumie's paper practice. Production was workshopped with our fabrication partners with the busy retail environment in mind. We considered CNC wood construction but preferred the waterjet-cut steel for durability. Finally, the artwork was hand-painted prior to installation with finishing touches applied by the artist onsite. All components were fabricated locally in Toronto.