On February 15, 2023, the Gordie Howe International Bridge project team unveiled new art panels on the exterior of the maintenance building at the Canadian Port of Entry, designed by Canadian artist Sara Graham.

Graham was chosen from a shortlist of Canadian artists to contribute to the overall project aesthetics incorporated into the Gordie Howe International Bridge project.

About the Art Panels

Using 22 stamped concrete panels, approximately 3x7 metres/10x23 feet each, the work, entitled “On the Other Side of Tomorrow,” reflects national and regional landscapes. This was achieved using illustrative mapping techniques and a combination of different optical perspectives.  

Focusing on the Canadian landscape, Graham used elements that represent suburban areas, industrial zones, and farmland as well as artistic renderings of mountains, treetops, road systems, lighthouses and water as the design on the panels.

Example of illustrative mapping showing lighthouses, road systems, farmland, and shrub brush.

The Artist

Originally from southern Ontario and currently based in Port Moody, British Columbia (BC), Sara Graham holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Guelph. She has exhibited her work across North America and has also undertaken several public art commissions with the most recent one installed in Richmond, BC in 2020.

The Artistic Process

Graham’s art stems from an interest in the design of the contemporary city and a desire to provide her audience with a new perspective on existing landscapes. Mapping is a central theme of her artistic practice and is rooted in the fascination of how map makers draw lines to define borders and property without consideration of the physical layout of the land.

“Historically, our landscape has been gridded out for settlement and development by drawing lines on paper,” said Graham. “While the grids on paper make sense in certain provinces or areas it really didn’t make sense for many other areas.”

For this project, Graham used the concept of the grid and its association with mapping and the representation of place as a starting point. She also incorporated the use of shadow play and patterning allowing the artistic intention to be captured by an audience who would be viewing the art from a moving vehicle. 

Partnership with Art Windsor-Essex 

In addition to the unveiling of the art panels, Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) is pleased to announce a partnership with Art Windsor-Essex (AWE) to support an exhibit of Graham’s works. The exhibit opens to the public on March 24, 2023 and runs through May 2023. It includes original works and life-size models of the Canadian Port of Entry panels.