Massive local sculpture unveiled in Ottawa

It's the work of master carver Dempsey Bob and is now at the National Arts Centre.

  • Dec. 9, 2011 3:00 p.m.
DEMPSEY BOB talks about his sculpture

DEMPSEY BOB talks about his sculpture

A LOCAL artist’s biggest sculpture is now on display where millions of people will see it every year.

Dempsey Bob’s sculpture, which he’s renamed Clan Unity, of an eagle, raven and killer whale was unveiled at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa Dec. 8.

“He’s an internationally acclaimed aboriginal artist so we are so honoured to have one of his works here,” says National Arts Centre (NAC) director of communications Rosemary Thompson.

“The whole thing is very incredible and we’re very, very honoured and lucky to have it.”

Bob is an internationally-known northwest carver who lives in Terrace. In addition to creating his own works, Bob is an instructor and mentor.

The sculpture had been on display at the offices of Ridley Terminals, the federally-owned bulk shipping company at Prince Rupert, but Bob and the person who suggested it be moved down east, Scott Shepherd, both wanted it somewhere that more people would see and enjoy it, she said.

Shepherd, who’s on the NAC charitable foundation board as well as the Ridley Terminal board, thought it would be a great idea to have a piece of artwork to demonstrate the centre’s commitment to aboriginal artists and also as a gathering place for aboriginal artists when they come into the building, she said, adding the idea came to reality just in the last couple of months.

In addition, Ridley Terminals is giving the centre $250,000 a year for five years, the largest donation the centre has ever received, specifically directed to the aboriginal fund.

About 1.2 million people go through the building every year and will see the artwork.