Windsor, Ontario • The Gordie Howe International Bridge project team is pleased to announce the selection of Michael Belmore, celebrated Anishinaabe artist, as the successful candidate for the Indigenous art commission to be installed at the Canadian Port of Entry.
Mr. Belmore will create a 2.7-metre/nine-foot free-standing sculpture that recognizes and celebrates the history, traditions and culture of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. The centrally located artwork will be visible to travellers as they enter and exit Canada. The concept, still under development will be shared at a later date, with installation anticipated before the end of 2023.
The Gordie Howe International Bridge project is located on the traditional lands of the Three Fires Confederacy, consisting of the Ojibwa, Odawa and Pottawatomi nations. Mr. Belmore met with representatives from Caldwell First Nation and Walpole Island First Nation to hear from them how the artwork can reflect images symbolic of local Indigenous peoples.
This commission is one of three Public Art components included on the project as a result of input received during the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) study. An artistic building façade at the Canadian Port of Entry was unveiled earlier this year. The final Public Art component is dynamic bridge lighting, with artist selection anticipated in late 2023. Public art is part of the project’s broader Visual Art Program, which aims to create memorable, high-quality, works of art consistent with the international importance of the bridge and to celebrate and promote creativity and friendship between Canada and the US.
“Mr. Belmore is an accomplished Anishinaabe artist and this important installation will help travellers and our own community connect to the rich indigenous history and culture in Windsor-Essex.”
- Irek Kusmierczyk, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion and Member of Parliament for Windsor- Tecumseh, on behalf of The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
“As an Anishinaabe person, I see my work as animate, as having agency and memory. My practice is based around human collaboration with materials, linking human lifetime to geological and deep time. With these tenants in mind, the work I create endures beyond our lifetime. The work, functioning as a vessel, offers insight into collective histories and possible futures.”
- Michael Belmore, artist
“We are very excited to have Michael Belmore’s work as a long-standing fixture at the Canadian Port of Entry. His contribution to the project through a meaningful art piece that reflects the local Indigenous Peoples is something we are proud of.”
- Michael Hatchell, CEO, Bridging North America
“The lands where the Gordie Howe International Bridge is located have long-standing connections to the local Indigenous Peoples that called the region their home. This artwork will recognize these connections in a highly visible way for people to consider as they make their way on their travels.”
- Heather Grondin, Vice President, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority
- Practicing for over 25 years, Mr. Belmore is an internationally recognized artist and is represented in the permanent collections of various institutions including the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Museum of the American Indian – Smithsonian Institute. His artwork uses a variety of materials and processes that reflect the environment, land, water, and what it is to be Anishinaabe.
- The commission also includes a mentorship opportunity for an Indigenous youth to work with the artist. The mentorship aspect is being developed in consultation with the artist, Walpole Island First Nation and Caldwell First Nation.
- Mr. Belmore was selected following an extensive artist selection process that began in 2018. Four Indigenous artists from across Canada were interviewed in summer 2022.
- The Visual Art Program on the Gordie Howe International Bridge project includes public art components, a commemorative art feature and several local art-related initiatives funded through the Community Benefits Plan.
ABOUT WINDSOR-DETROIT BRIDGE AUTHORITY
Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) is a not-for-profit Canadian Crown corporation created to deliver the Gordie Howe International Bridge project between Windsor, ON and Detroit, MI through a public- private partnership (P3). WDBA is responsible for overseeing and managing the construction and operation of the new crossing. For more information on WDBA visit www.GordieHoweInternationalBridge.com and follow the project on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GordieHoweBrg.
ABOUT BRIDGING NORTH AMERICA
Bridging North America (BNA) became the private-sector partner to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Gordie Howe International Bridge project in September 2018. BNA is comprised of some of the most recognized leaders in the construction and infrastructure industry which includes North American and international companies. BNA partners have significant experience carrying out major infrastructure projects such as the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway in Windsor, Ontario; New Champlain Bridge Corridor in Montreal, Quebec; Autoroute 30 in Montreal, Quebec; Eglinton Crosstown LRT in Toronto, Ontario; Réseau Express Métropolitain (REM) in Montreal, Quebec; Automated People Mover at LAX Airport, California; Harbor Bridge, Corpus Christi, Texas; Tappan Zee Bridge in New York and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, California.
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Gordie Howe International Bridge
Media Relations Team