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Diatom Whisper: Alchemy

Ingrid Koivukangas
Each 38cm wide (15")
Cast glass, fused glass
Prince Arthur's Landing - Skateboard/BMX Plaza

The artwork for this public art cmpetition had to demonstrate a connection between the skateboard/BMX plaza and people of all ages, the local environment and local heritage, and in particular, Lake Superior. The site is a casual socializing space, set within the vibrant waterfront landscape at Prince Arthur’s Landing. The intent of the competition was to commission artwork that would capture the spirit of Thunder Bay’s Waterfront vision - “year round, connected, ours to celebrate” - and provide an artistic vision for the entire skate plaza. The artistic concept by North Vancouver-based artist Ingrid Koivukandas integrates twelve microscopic images of diatoms collected from Lake Superior.

Diatoms are tiny algae that float around in fresh and sea water – they account for a quarter of all the photosynthesis on earth. They are tiny alchemists, taking silicon dissolved in water and turning it into intricate glass houses which then assist them with photosynthesis. Diatoms make a larger contribution to fighting global warming than most land plants. Not only do they release oxygen as a waste product, but when they die their remains sink to the bottom of the lake or ocean, locking away carbon forever.

Diatom Whisper: Alchemy creates a visual connection between the viewer and the unseen microscopic world that lives in the waters of Lake Superior near the Marina Park Skate Plaza.

-Ingrid Koivukangas (artist)

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