Based on the poem by Leonard Cohen, the sculpture was more contemplative in nature than previous efforts. We felt after Wolfe and the horse, we had very little to prove in terms of sculpting technique, so we moved toward a difference in subject matter. This sculpture was also not without controversy, which I always considered misplaced. This interpretation was meant to represent a man looking back on his life without remorse, remembering the good with kindness and an appreciation for what he had had.
Originally the figure grouping was going to be Sampson and Delilah, but that just didn't excite us. It provided everything we were looking for in terms of sculptural detail and direction, except the appropriate motivation, so we kept looking. What we found was Leonard Cohen. A poem he had read on Morningside somehow burrowed its way into my brain and demanded a second listen. That's when the sculpture finally found a purpose. It was obscure, even for us, to try to do poetry, but if you're going to do poetry, you might as well do Lenny. And this one spoke to me and added many more layers to the sculpture. I love a sculpture that works as a visual and also as an idea, especially when they are at odds. The scene without the poem is one of love and devotion, but once you see the context, it can be both heartwarming and heartbreaking.
The planning for this sculpture was decidedly less complex than previous efforts. I think that probably reflects a desire to spend less effort to get the same effect, and a feeling that we don't need to prove ourselves so much anymore.
Few took time to stop and read the poem which we had at the site, so it was easy to get discouraged about the connection we were making with our audience, but a few key moments, with people who did get it, with people who, caught in the moment, shed a tear because of our work, made it all worthwhile.
Days of Kindness was created in January/February 1996 on Dow's Lake, Ottawa. The sculpture won honorable mention in the General Public Category.
Click to view the "Days of Kindness" photo gallery
Note: These daily records were not taken at the time the sculpture was being created. Notes for calendars, receipts and record books have been examined to re-create the events leading up to and involving the creation of this sculpture.
96/01/26 - 96/02/01 - Snow sculpture construction.
No other daily records are available