City Unveils Sculpture Commission Created by MANS Students, VP
COVID-19 couldn’t keep well-wishers and the curious away from the unveiling of Lacombe’s newest public sculpture on Sept. 26. Michael Willing, vice principal of the junior and senior high school MANS, was instrumental in facilitating the proposal that resulted in the sculpture commission and its production. Willing gave the below speech on behalf of himself and artists Eileen Firingstoney and Tessa Potts, who designed Miweyihtowin and were the primary welders.
Greetings. My name is Michael Willing. I’m proud to be here today to show you what Eileen, Tessa and I have been working on for four months.
This work has been a blessing to us in many different ways. From offering a summer employment opportunity to these two deserving and energetic youth to affording the opportunity to the three of us to explore our creative sides, this project has manifested the best in us and we are excited to showcase it.
In many ways, the best in us is exactly what what this sculpture represents. Miweyihtowin or “Affinity for One Another” is a visual representation of the natural tendency of many creatures, both big and small, to seek out relationships that are warm, healthy and close.
Animals, like humans, are attracted to each other for safety, security and community, and this attraction is what we aimed to represent here. As artists, we would like to share a message that coming together is our best quality, our prime directive, our goal, and ambition. We hope that through kindness, familiarity and compassion we can be a community bound by unfettered strength during times of hardship and separation.
There is no time for this in the future; the time for this is now. Now, during our uncertain days, it should be our goal to unite and commit to treat each other fairly and with an attitude of affinity for on another.
Through the over 450 hours that we spent building this project, we can attest that working well together is not simplistic, facile or easy. It takes work to understand each other. It takes time to understand each other. But the one thing that has kept coming back to our minds is how this represents the challenges that we face as humans. We want this sculpture to speak to the necessity of not giving up, of continuing in face of hardship and stress, and most of all coming to the end without losing what makes us human.
We are proud that this legacy will sit here and be a beacon for the opportunity that we have to make the world a better place for each other.
I am proud to present Miweyihtowin.
Vice-Principal Michael Willing is one of the three creators of Miweyihtowin.