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This Light art installation

Sheridan and the City of Brampton bring public art installation to Davis Campus

March 04, 2019

Following a nation-wide call for proposals from artists to envision and implement an installation that responds to the connections between Sheridan’s Davis Campus and the City of Brampton, Sheridan is pleased to announce the selection of Toronto-based artist Joshua Vettivelu.

Vettivelu responded to Sheridan’s artist call for Temporary Contemporary, an annual installation of contemporary artwork on one of Sheridan’s three campuses. The program, which was launched in 2012, receives submissions from across the country, and offers an opportunity for creators to incubate and realize new ideas through exchange with Sheridan’s vibrant, interdisciplinary community. This year’s project is presented in collaboration with the City of Brampton.

“We’re thrilled to work with the City of Brampton – one of Canada’s fastest growing and most diverse communities – to showcase Vettivelu’s innovative work,” says Dr. Janet Morrison, President and Vice Chancellor of Sheridan. “Vettivelu’s project deeply resonated with our selection committee because it foregrounds relationships and addresses cross-cultural connections, reciprocity, and place-making – tenets that are foundational to Sheridan’s approach to community collaboration.”

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown adds: “Brampton is a youthful, diverse community, and we’re pleased to see those qualities reflected in this installation. We recognize the importance of nurturing and supporting our creative community, and hope that the City’s partnership with Sheridan College on this project and the workshop for aspiring artists, will inspire the next generation of creators.”

Vettivelu’s installation, This Light, will be on view at the Davis Campus Library in Brampton, Ont., from March 4 to August 9, 2019. On March 7, 2019 at 6 p.m. the City of Brampton will offer a professional development workshop for aspiring public artists. In addition, Vettivelu will present a public artist talk in May 2019.

During the fall 2018 semester, Vettivelu explored Brampton and got to know the Davis Campus. As part of their engagement, the artist created a survey and invited students to respond anonymously to open-ended questions like “how far have you travelled?”, “what was your home before it was your home?” and “what makes a good life?”

Vettivelu was moved by a few deeply honest responses that came from students who are also parents. “These students shared some of the risks that were involved in going back to school, immigrating, and making large life decisions (like leaving abuse) for the benefit of their children” explains Vettivelu. Building on these ideas, the artist conceived an installation that explores the complexity of care, for oneself and for others. “It is a reminder to those who care, that they must also care for themselves; and a reminder to those who are cared for, that they must give care as they receive it.”  

The installation is composed of text and images cut from plexiglass and diffraction grating and is featured in the library rotunda and windows, where it casts rainbow light and shadows on the interior surfaces of the building, revealing messages and scenes throughout different times of the day. The medium itself is connected to the stories community members shared with Vettivelu:

 “After spending time on campus…I realized many students were experiencing their first winter in Canada, accompanied by a decreased amount of sunlight,” the artist says. “This has measurable effects on the body. I started to think about the effect of light, and what longing can feel like on a molecular level, when we can no longer absorb something that we expect to always nourish us. By splitting up sunlight into its visible spectrum, I wanted to call attention to how something as ordinary as sunlight is greater than the sum of its parts.”

In order to create their installation, Vettivelu worked on-site in the Faculty of Animation, Arts, and Design’s glass studio at Sheridan’s Trafalgar Campus in Oakville, Ont., as well as in the Davis Campus’ Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies (CAMDT), a 40,000-square-foot facility that enables students, manufacturers and industry partners to explore highly specialized manufacturing and design equipment.

“We are delighted that Sheridan has expanded the scope of the Temporary Contemporary program we launched in 2012 by partnering with our Director, Creative Campus, Catherine Hale and the Creative Campus Galleries team,” says Ronni Rosenberg, Dean of the Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design. “Public art invigorates the environment around us. It prompts dialogue and facilitates the important exchange of ideas, which form the basis of both civic engagement and learning. We are inspired by the community connections and collaboration this program fosters, as Vettivelu’s work so richly demonstrates.”

About the artist:

Joshua Vettivelu is an artist, programmer, and educator working within installation, video and performance. Their works explore how larger frameworks of power manifest within intimate relationships. Recently their practice has been looking at how desire and language build the world. Vettivelu is the previous Director of Programming at Whippersnapper Gallery and, currently, is an instructor in the Faculty of Art and Faculty of Continuing Education at OCADU.

About the workshop:

The workshop, entitled Brampton’s Creative Community Workshop: Building a Career as a Public Artist, is designed for artists of any discipline who want to gain knowledge about Brampton’s municipal public art program and skills towards becoming a public artist. Helena Grdadolnik of Workshop Architecture and the City of Brampton's Public Art consultant, will discuss the way public art is changing in Brampton followed by Joshua Vettivelu, who will then explore what it takes to be successful in building a public art career. Details of the workshop are at brampton.ca/culture.

For further information about this year’s Temporary Contemporary installation, including details about Vettivelu’s public artist talk, visit our website or email the Creative Campus Galleries at galleries@sheridancollege.ca

 Sheridan and Brampton's logos


Pictured top right: This Light installation at Davis Campus by Temporary Contemporary artist Joshua Vettivelu.