As thrilled as Daphne Mennell was to be commissioned to build a sculpture for Whitehorse’s new Public Safety Building, it is an experience she wants to share with all Yukoners.
More than that, she wants the collective experience of Yukoners to be represented “in” and “on” the sculpture.
She is asking for Yukoners to donate pieces of metal that have meaning to them. It could be a gas cap from a trusty truck or a hammer that was used to build a cabin.
It just needs to be no larger than a sheet of paper and it needs to be made from ferris metal – a metal that a magnet will stick to and it rusts.
Mennell is working with a journeyman welder, Roger Poole, who will be welding these pieces to an armature of a life-sized horse, rearing up on its hind legs.
Its mane will be of stainless-steel wire – which, hopefully, someone will donate – that joins with the roiling water of the Yukon River.
“It will be a community timepiece,” says Mennell. “It could be there forever; it will immortalize these pieces.”
To further tell the story of each piece, a website will be set up that lets visitors read the stories of each piece. So, Mennell is asking that each piece include contact information of the person donating the piece, the story behind the piece and maybe even a photo to help the story come alive.
Mennell, a visual artist who is mostly known for her paintings of the Carcross-Tagish area, has never built a full-sized sculpture before.
And she suspects the welder hasn’t built one, either. “He looks very patient,” she says.
The two of them are working on the welcome to Carcross sign, over this winter, and that will be their practice.
The biggest problem, at this point, is finding collection points in the communities. So far, people can drop off pieces at KIAC in Dawson City and at city hall and Raven Recycling in Whitehorse. So, she hopes to have volunteers contact her from outside Whitehorse at email@example.com.
She needs to have the donations – with the stories and photos all in one bag – by the end of June. And she will need a few thousand pieces.