A permanent public sculpture suspended from the ceiling of the Oakville Trafalgar Community Centre, commissioned by the Town of Oakville, Ontario. Ravenous responds to the transformation of the adjacent abandoned former Oakville High School into a habitat for a colony of chimney swifts, a threatened migratory bird species. Part of the development site, the historic building has continued significance to the community. Every year, residents of all backgrounds come to watch birds roost in its chimneys. The community’s galvanization around birdwatching inspired me to represent the chimney swift as an “artefact” of the culture and spirit of Oakville.
The work relies on a display strategy employed by science and nature museums to spark viewers’ interest in the natural world—the optical illusion. Ravenous uses anamorphosis, a visual illusion in which an object is distorted so that can only be recognized from a specific vantage point. The sculpture appears abstract to viewers moving through the space. Yet, from a specific vantage point, a representation of a bird appears. Creating this visually striking experience was crucial to engaging a multi-generational community.