Kaleidoscope highlights new additions to the City of Ottawa Art Collection in 2018. Artworks are added to the Collection each year by way of a peer assessment process through purchase, donation and/or commission. This year, 56 artworks by 34 artists were purchased, eleven artworks were donated and one site-specific permanent public art commission was completed.
The kaleidoscope is a symbol of possibilities and potential; it challenges viewers to adapt their own perspectives as they interpret and re-interpret with each subtle shift of the lens. It encourages us to expand our awareness while encouraging an active and engaged way of viewing. The diverse array of works assembled in this exhibition demonstrate various interpretations of common themes, such as identity and place; however each one is unique, produced within its own set of complex circumstances. Kaleidoscope represents and reveals a wonderful array of viewpoints and richness of vision.
In 2018, the City of Ottawa Public Art Program undertook a pilot project in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action. An Indigenous Liaison was appointed to work with artists in the Algonquin, Métis and Inuit communities in an effort to encourage more applications by Indigenous artists into the City of Ottawa Art Collection. As a result, the program saw a dramatic increase in applications from Indigenous artists and 30% of the artworks purchased by the City in 2018 were by Indigenous artists.
Artworks from this circulating collection are placed in over 160 public spaces and municipal buildings to be viewed and enjoyed by residents and visitors. The City of Ottawa and its various municipal predecessors have been actively collecting artwork by professional artists for over 30 years. As a result, the City of Ottawa Collection has grown to include more than 2,800 artworks by more than 750 artists. The artists featured in this exhibition are but a small fragment of a much larger visual arts community that comprises an abundance of artistic talent in the region.