Mixed medium sculpture
2′ w x 3′ l x 8′ h

Acrylic paint, Antique Victorian wood porch column (late 1800-early 1900’s), Paper mâché head, LED lit Fibre-optic strands, recycled rubber tire playground surface, glass seed beads.

Cheryl Buckmaster, 2023
University of Saskatchewan

“Water In-tension” is a physical statement of the hopes and goals I found throughout meetings with scientists and communities in the GROW project. It represents the intention of safely cleaning oilsands processed water now and for generations. Some Components to achieve this goal are represented in the sculpture:

  • Prayer smoke represents the hope and goal of all involved in the GROW project for safe, clean water, now and for future generations. Elder Irene Fraser, Fred Macdonald, and Cheryl smudged the column in a ceremony by the Saskatchewan River.
  • The original colonial column represented traditional Western capitalistic/mechanistic methodologies. The column now, smudged and painted in prayer smoke, has morphed toward regenerative approaches that work within the needs of the natural and social environments.
  • The shape of the sculpture honors the “standing people” or wetland plants that are being studied in this project and work to help clean water all over the globe.
  • The paper-mâché head atop the column was made by an indigenous youth in the young offender’s system. With gratitude and reverence, it distinguishes water as one whole, living and life-giving, entity with embedded rights that require protection equal to human rights.
  • Fibre optic threads represent communication and dissemination between all involved in the project and the public.
  • The optic fibres also refer to water raining down. The recycled rubber tire playground surface base refers to our children, the land, and generations to come. The tire surface and optic fibre are unnatural representations and comment on the need to acknowledge the damage done to our environment and the important role of technology in remediation.
  • The pool of glass seed beads represents water, aka everything.

Cheryl Buckmaster

return to Gallery

Water In-Tension, Cheryl Buckmaster, 2023,
on display at the Global Water Futures Finale Conference.
Photo: L. Bradford