Escaped the office for an hour this beautiful summer afternoon to go for a walk. Passing the Cenotaph in Victoria Park on my way back downtown after a stroll along the north shore of Wascana Lake, I was surprised to find that the old dead tree to the southeast of the memorial that had been home to Kim Morgan’s public art project Antsee (pictured) since 2002 had been cut down.
I’m not sure when it happened, although when I’d been in the park on Wednesday afternoon it was still up, so it must have been in the last few days. When Kim installed the piece, I know she went to great pains to secure the ants, placing them high in the tree with the aid of a ladder and actually bolting them into the wood. But over the years a sufficient number of the ants had gone missing that the impact of the sculpture, which was brilliant in its evocation of decay and renewal and the parallels that exist between ants and humans as social animals, had certainly diminished.
When the tree was cut down, there couldn’t have been more than one or two ants remaining. Still, when I was sitting out on Wednesday, I observed several children who were passing through the park with their parents stop to admire and comment on them.
Public sculpture in Regina is very much hit and miss, with there generally being more misses than hits. Antsee was definitely a hit and I, for one, will miss it.