Houseplanters is a new permanent public artwork proposed for Sahalli Park in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood of Vancouver Canada.
The project, initiated by artist Vanessa Kwan, introduces a series of sculptures that focus on the image and metaphor of the lowly houseplant.
Representing both a desired intimacy with a botanical companion and a reference to our struggles to sustain ourselves in an increasingly unaffordable urban landscape, the project begins with the idea that these plant-citizens, in their cramped containers, not only soothe us but also parallel our own struggles to reside and belong within the city.
The installation consists of three bronze sculptures of common houseplants, with corresponding dedication plaques on existing park benches (similar to dedication plaques you might find in places of beauty commemorating beloved family members) detailing the life and ‘legacy’ of each plant.
The work is at once a thoughtful and eccentric take to public expressions of commemoration. Placed at various, relatively innocuous points along Sahalli Park, the three bronze-cast plant sculptures contribute a sense of odd companionship that unfolds over time, rather than a pointed and immediate ‘art experience.’ In this, the works aspire towards a presence more neighbourly than monumental, sharing space with both human visitors and the manicured, living flora of the park.
Houseplanters is commissioned by the City of Vancouver Public Art Program as part of the 2017 open call to artists to propose new works for the city that contemplate its defining features, spaces and neighbourhoods.