(Toronto—April 5, 2010) An artwork dedicated to the memory of Police Constable Michael Sweet, who lost his life in the line of duty 30 years ago in March, will be installed this summer on Michael Sweet Avenue, in downtown Toronto. The design, by Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) fourth-year Industrial Design student Joshua Sin, was chosen from more than a dozen submissions by OCAD students in a competition held this spring. The selection of a winning concept is part one of a multi-stage process.
The competition asked students to design a memorial for the brick wall that runs along the north side of Michael Sweet Avenue, which runs east/west between St. Patrick Street and Simcoe Street, south of Dundas Street. Property owners First Urban, Toronto Police Service 52 Division and OCAD collaborated on the project.
The concept features the words “I remember” laser cut into rectangular sheet of Corten steel, a weathering metal alloy that will change colour as it ages, representing the adaptability and change present in all life. The panel, to be mounted offset from the brick wall to allow sunlight to penetrate the letters and create a solemn shadow beneath, is designed to be easily installed and easily moved, a requirement set out in the competition, to accommodate development plans for the site in future years. Engraved into the steel is the message, “This memorial is dedicated to Constable Michael Sweet, a fallen officer who lost his life in the line of duty. To serve and protect, always.”
“We began discussions with 52 Division about three years ago to see how we could improve the streetscape. We then approached OCAD for their participation which led to the competition," said Ron Thomson, President of First Urban. “We’re very pleased with the results of the competition and look forward to further development and installation of the winning design.”
Sin’s concept earned him a $5,000 prize, a small part of which is to be used towards further development and refinement of his design. Working with representatives of Toronto Police Service 52 Division, First Urban and OCAD faculty advisors, Sin’s final design will be installed over the course of the summer. An unveiling ceremony will be held at a date yet to be determined.
“My design is a reflection on the fragility of life,” explained Sin. “It sends a message evoking memories, feelings and past experiences. By allowing pedestrians to reflect and recollect about their own histories, the installation encourages them to ponder life. Not only is this piece about Constable Michael Sweet’s life, it is a reflection of your own. More importantly, it is about change and hope for the future — to remember and learn from the past, and to live in the “now.” It is a universal message for everyone, something that everyone can relate to. It is a story waiting to be shared.”
“Our students, faculty and staff are engaged members of the neighbourhood in which Constable Sweet lost his life,” said Associate Dean Cheryl Giraudy, of OCAD’s Faculty of Design, who coordinated the competition. “We are honoured to have been approached by Toronto Police Service and First Urban to collaborate with our students in memorializing his sacrifice. Not only is it a solemn moment of our collective past that should not be forgotten, it is an opportunity for our students to create public works in tribute of important historical events, a long-standing tradition for professional artists and designers.”
“The Toronto Police Service is grateful for the partnership we share with OCAD, First Urban and other community members with respect to the Michael Sweet Memorial project,” said Detective Sergeant John Whitworth. “Constable Michael Sweet gave his life in the line of duty, a short distance away from where the university stands, while serving the citizens of Toronto. After thirty years, this undertaking by students, the faculty, local businesses, citizens and police officers is truly a testament to the sacrifice Michael Sweet made for this community. It was an absolute honour to represent the Toronto Police Service on the jury panel and to see just how much consideration, effort and skill the students put into their research and designs.”
Winning Concepts for the Michael Sweet Memorial Competition:
First Place: $5,000:
“I remember” by fourth-year Industrial Design student Joshua Sin
In Joshua Sin’s design, the words “I remember” is laser cut into a half-inch thick rectangle of Corten steel, a weathering metal alloy. A short message is engraved, dedicating the memorial to Constable Michael Sweet. The installation will obtain a rust-like appearance when exposed to weather for several years, changing colour as it ages, representing adaptability and change in life. The work is mounted off-set from the existing brick wall by a foot, allowing sunlight to create a solemn shadow beneath the steel. After its wall life, the piece can be used as a freestanding installation.
Second Place: $500:
“Trapezius” by fourth-year Environmental Design student Jimmy Hyunjin Cho
Jimmy Hyunjin Cho’s design is premised on human anatomy, specifically the back and shoulder, as a jumping off point. Referencing the trapezius muscle, the large shoulder muscle that extends longitudinally from the occipital bone to the lower thoracic vertebrae and laterally to the spine of the shoulder blades, Cho’s design connotes the burden of hard work, with the shoulder representing protection and strength. The design features an architectural framework mounted over the wall, providing a sense of motion and imbuing the physicality of the body. Constable Sweet’s name appears on the wall behind the structure, inviting viewers in to read and know his name.
Third Place: $500:
“Missing Piece” by fourth-year Environmental Design student Marek Rudzinski
Rudzinski’s design is an expression of loss and memory of an individual from a family, from a police force and from a community. The memorial is made up of interlocking, unique pieces that remains impossible to complete: one piece is missing. The surface of the memorial is mirrored, a powerful reminder for viewers of their own relationship to the puzzle, and the missing piece.
Honourable Mention: $75:
“Northern Lights” by fourth-year Environmental Design student Amy Doerner
Doerner’s design is inspired by the Northern Lights, and aims to create a place of reflection and remembrance, honour, change, and to reflect communal richness. The installation features vertically mounted wooden elements, coloured in tones of blue and green, reminiscent of a cityscape.
Honourable Mention: $75:
“Day Shift” by fourth-year Industrial Design student Adam Kereliuk
Kereliuk’s concept calls for mounting steel structures high on the wall that are laser cut with words and images. Sunlight casts ‘text shadows’ on the wall, revealing the message of the memorial.
Michael Sweet Memorial Competition Jury:
Councillor Adam Vaughan (Ward 20 — Trinity–Spadina)
Detective Sergeant John Whitworth, Toronto Police Service
Ron Thomson, First Urban
Peter Caldwell, Vice-President, Finance & Administration, OCAD
Professor Eldon Garnet, Faculty of Art, OCAD
Thomas Payne, Founding Partner, KPMB Architects
About First Urban
First Urban is a land development company with vast experience in Canada and abroad. First Urban team members have extensive backgrounds in property development that include community planning, engineering, marketing, financing, project management, and construction. To learn more, visit www.firsturban.ca.
About the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD)
The Ontario College of Art & Design (www.ocad.ca) is Canada’s “university of the imagination.” OCAD is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. The university is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinarity, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.
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For more information and images please contact:
Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer, OCAD
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)