In the courtyard outside the Juno Beach Centre stands a striking memorial sculpture. Titled “Remembrance and Renewal,” the sculpture was commissioned by the Juno Beach Centre Association and created by Canadian artist Colin Gibson, who lives and works near Flesherton, Ontario. The sculpture features five military figures that wrap in a circular formation look outward, into the distance. The massive figures blend into one another, accentuating the unity and comradeship of those who served Canada at home and abroad. The figures are posed to reflect different emotions, in keeping with their individual gestures. One figure depicts leadership, one strength, another vigour and alertness, while still another looks sombre and reflective. A final figure is stepping forward to assist a comrade. In his artists’ statement of intention, Colin Gibson wrote:
“The chiseled lines of the faces show the determination and bravery of the men. Their broad shoulders convey the weight of responsibility that they endured during the struggle. The forms and features are somewhat obscure reflecting the reality that much time has passed since the war and the living memory of the way is fading as the survivors join their brothers-in-arms.”
The sculpture is striking because the abstract rendering of the soldiers is quite different from the realistic way that figures are portrayed in most public works and war memorials. The sculpture was created to spark feelings of contemplation and remembrance, and to provide visitors with a place to reflect in the front courtyard of the Centre. This memorial sculpture honours the sacrifices of all those who participated in the war effort, both in the field and in all operations in Canada and abroad, to help achieve final victory.
Dispatches from Juno shares all the news, events, and stories from the Juno Beach Centre in France and Canada. Interested in contributing a story to the blog? Email the editor at email@example.com.