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Gardiner Museum presents Forever (Bird-Botanicals) by Toronto-based sculptor David Constantino Salazar

2 years ago

500 clay birds are flocking to the Exhibition Hall this month

Toronto—From August 21 to 31, the Gardiner Museum presents Forever (Bird-Botanicals), a striking installation by Ecuadorian-Canadian sculptor David Constantino Salazar in partnership with members of Workman Arts, a Toronto-based arts organization that promotes a greater understanding of mental health and addiction. Admission is free to the public.

Salazar transforms the Exhibition Hall into a venue for collective feeling and cooperative thinking with a series of over 500 individually hand-sculpted, wall-mounted pieces produced in red clay and created during a month-long residency at the Gardiner.

Upon entering the room, viewers are confronted by what appears to be a flock of birds that have flown directly into the wall. There is an ambiguity between the recognizable bird anatomy and the plant forms that make up each amorphous shape.

Inspired by folk tales and allegories passed on from his grandparents in Ecuador, Salazar poignantly asks the viewer to contemplate the cultural symbolism associated with birds such as freedom, love, divinity, and peace, juxtaposed with the bird’s abrupt metaphorical loss of flight and its transformation from bird to plant. He encourages the viewer to ponder the concept of human resilience and what life looks like after trauma, an idea especially pertinent as we begin to recover from the impact of the global pandemic.

“Once our peace is interrupted, how do we grow from that? How do we get a new perspective in order for us to continue?” asks Salazar. “We are all experiencing transformation currently after the globally traumatic event of the Pandemic.”

During his residency, Salazar led a series of online workshops with participants from Workman Arts. Their creations will be on display in the Exhibition Hall as part of the installation. Since June, the Gardiner has also been running free family bird making activities every Wednesday – Friday from 1 – 3:30 pm.

“This project embodies what we believe a museum should be—a place where local artists, community groups, and the public can learn and create together,” says Nahed Mansour, Curator of Programs and Education at the Gardiner Museum.

On Wednesday August 25 from 5 – 7 pm, the Gardiner is hosting a celebration with the artist and participants from Workman Arts in attendance. Toronto-based composer, performer and multi-instrumentalist, Adrian Gordon Cook, will mirror the installation with a physical exploration of sound. The event is free and open to the public. Learn more

Forever (Bird-Botanicals) is part of Community Arts Space, the Gardiner’s incubator for arts-based projects that build community through clay making.

For more information visit gardinermuseum.com.


David Constantino Salazar is a Toronto-based sculptor with a Master in Fine Arts degree from OCAD University. His research focuses on the double intended messages in traditional fable stories. The allegories in his work invite the viewer to reflect on the human experience through traditional animal-based narrative. Salazar’s studio practice is highly focused on the tradition of hand modeling clay and the fabrication process of casting in bronze, resin, or ceramic.

An Ecuadorian-Canadian artist, Salazar examines the confluence of his symbolic and ancestral roots as a South American and his daily life in Canada. A recipient of multiple residencies internationally and domestically, Salazar has represented Canada at the International Biennial of Asuncion (Paraguay) and completed the Studio Research Residency (Flora & Fauna) in Tiradentes, Brazil. In Canada, he was awarded the AKIN Studio Residence Program at MOCA Toronto and has been invited to the Creative Professionals-in-Residence Mentor Program at OCAD University.

His public commissions include Carnival, Rio de Janeiro (2012) and the Spadina Museum, Nuit Blanche, Toronto (2015). In 2015, he was commissioned by First Capital Realty Inc. for two permanent public art sculptures in Georgetown, Ontario. Salazar is currently working on Hogtown, a public art commission to be installed in Toronto’s west end neighborhood Parkdale.


Workman Arts is a multidisciplinary arts organization that promotes a greater understanding of mental health and addiction issues through creation and presentation. They support artists living with mental health and addiction issues through peer-to-peer arts education, public presentations, and partnerships with the broader arts community.


The Gardiner Museum brings together people of all ages and backgrounds through the shared values of creativity, wonder, and community that clay and ceramic traditions inspire.

The Gardiner Museum’s collection of ceramics comprises approximately 4,000 objects, and focuses on specific areas which have been collected in depth. These include a world-renowned collection of European porcelain, with particular strengths in Meissen, Vienna, and Hausmaler decorated porcelain, as well as a comprehensive collection of figures inspired by the commedia dell’arte. It holds the preeminent collection of Italian Renaissance maiolica in Canada, and a superb collection of English tin-glazed pottery. The Gardiner preserves highly significant collections of ceramics from the Ancient Americas, Chinese blue and white porcelain, Japanese porcelain, and contemporary Canadian ceramics. It also houses a research library and archives, clay studios, award-winning Shop, and a restaurant.

The Gardiner Museum is among the few museums in the world focused on ceramics, and is one of the world’s most notable specialty museums. For more information, please visit: gardinermuseum.com.


Media Contact:
Rachel Weiner
Senior Manager, Marketing
Gardiner Museum

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