HOMAGE 1974-2005

Timeline 29/06/05

1:00 p.m. - sculpture is intact.

4:00 p.m. - family extracts a promise from the college, not to take any further action for at least 5 days in order for the family to seek legal advice.

7:00 p.m. - a significant piece of Canadian Art is destroyed by a backhoe.

1:00 p.m.

7:00 p.m. Photo Credit: Bill Arnold

HOMAGE was a unique large scale site-specific commisioned sculpture, designed to work in conjunction with the architecture at the newly constructed Lambton College in Sarnia Ontario,
where it stood for 31 years.

"A large outdoor work by Canadian sculptor Haydn Davies has been torn down by the Sarnia, Ont., college that commissioned it 31 years ago because it had become a danger to the public", college officials said this week. The family members of the 83-year-old artist are livid because they were not consulted before the huge, Stonehenge-inspired sculpture, made of laminated western red cedar, was removed Wednesday afternoon from its site by the entrance to Lambton College of Applied Arts and Technology.

July 2nd, 2005 The Globe and Mail


Adding to the controversy is a debate about the current state of the sculpture, titled HOMAGE. A former art teacher at the college who was familiar with the work said he saw it after it was removed by a back-hoe. "It has been totally demolished. There's just a pile of rubble now," he said.

However, Lambton president Tony Hanlon disagreed: "The work was disassembled . . . and stacked in a field to return to nature, as it were."

July 2nd, 2005 The Globe and Mail

When the story of HOMAGE'S destruction surfaced, it was quickly picked up by the Osprey chain of newspapers, including Sarnia's own OBSERVER. Their coverage placed the story squarely within the context of the community.

"The moral issue is the salient one - that a prominent piece of Canadian art, by an internationally recognized artist has been destroyed without thought to the artist or the generations that will be deprived of its enjoyment. The artist owns copyright on work and has moral rights that prevent the work from being altered or mutilated in a way that would hurt the artist's honour or reputation."

"Is destruction by backhoe not a mutilation?"

HOMAGE, pictured here in 1974 and 30 years later in 2005. The laminated B.C. red cedar of the sculpture aged as intended, taking on the characteristic blue/grey hue of weathered cedar.

"They acted before the long-weekend in the hope that no one would notice."

They claimed it had "deteriorated to the point of becoming a safety concern". It seems that these days "safety concern" is the institutional trump card.

Photo Credit: Bill Arnold and Dave Begley
homage homage
Photographs of the demolished sculpture clearly reveal an interior of healthy red cedar.

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