2008 05 17
Harbourfront Nets Surprising Fish Installation

When I was a kid my grandfather took me fishing along the shores of Lake Erie. The shallowest of the Great Lakes, Erie then supported a sizable fishing industry out of harbours like Port Stanley and Port Burwell. No longer. Most Ontarians today wouldn't know the difference between a salmon and a pike, but two Toronto artists want to change that. They want your kids to enjoy the natural abundance the lakes once offered and could again.

If you haven't taken the time to visit Toronto's Harbourfront this spring the holiday weekend provides a perfect reason to pack up the kids, jump on a streetcar, and come down to the York Quay Gallery to take in the FishNet experience. You won't regret it.

The show's creators, Angela Iarocci and Claire Ironside describe it this way:


FishNet: The Great Lakes Craft and Release Project is a two-part project comprised of a craft phase and a release phase, transforms textile fish into real fish. Led by Toronto-based designers Claire Ironside and Angela Iarocci, the project is now on display at the York Quay Gallery, Harbourfront Centre from May 3 to June 22, 2008.

The heart of the crafting phase centres on 25 Toronto based schools each building a regionally specific school of textile fish and researching their species as part of their classroom curriculum.The release phase occurs when Harbourfront Centre, acting metaphorically as a fish hatchery, sponsors the 'release' of the crafted textile fish, an activity which will ultimately underwrite fish habitat restoration and restocking programs in the Great Lakes.

FishNet is to be presented to the public in a variety of forms including a project web site, classroom activities, a public exhibition, and as an invitation to other schools within the Great Lakes bio-region to undertake similar projects. When complete, the project will have combined and coalesced the creative talents of approximately 2,000 students, educators, artists and designers for the purposes of exploring and engaging in the multiple themes of sustainability, collaboration and activism.

FishNet identifies absence or neglect as the creative basis for a subtle form of protest art—one that provokes an engaging solution while strengthening the ties that bind us as a community living within the Great Lakes bioregion and beyond.

FishNet has received grants from Harbourfront Centre's Fresh Ground new works and the Ontario Arts Council, Arts Education program. Additional financial support has been provided by the Toronto District School Board and Inner City Angels.

Please come to Harbourfront and support the project by releasing a fish. For more information go to http://www.projectfishnet.org.

[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 05/17
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