Dorsey James, Sculptor

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Community is an experience that is fundamental to our sense of who we were, who we are and who we may someday be. It, somehow, ties us together and puts us all on a common ground that reminds us of our need for one another.

This project involves the fabrication and installation of carved, recycled hydro poles in communities along the Waterfront Trail across the breath of Ontario. Each sculpture will be unique to that community in which it is installed.

These carved sculptures are designed to represent the peoples from a diversity of cultures that have come from near and far to call this country "home". Though these images are inclusive of ancestry and tribal legend, they are not totem poles. These carved images are Kijimba Kind. I have fashioned this terminology from words and meanings found in three different languages and cultures. The word "kijimba" is from black Africa (Bambara tribe). It means spirit. As it applies to these carvings, it takes into account three spirits: the spirit of the character carved, the spirit of the material and the spirit of the carver. The word kind is from white Germany. It is taken from the word kinder, which means children i.e. kindergarten. In the English language, kind refers to a type, like mankind. It is, also, a word that refers to the warmer or gentler side of a person's nature i.e. a kind person. I have taken words from these cultural and racial extremes in an effort to reflect all races as black and white incorporates all colours and values.

Kijimba Kind are, then, spirit children of all types and colours. They symbolize our history as well as the diversity of religions, our myth and our legend. They are, too, reminiscent of a variety of directions, choices, options or challenges that we might encounter in our lives i.e. to be determined (the eagle), vigilant (the crane) or knowledgeable (the owl).

Kijimba Kind are carved from discarded cedar hydro poles which were used to bring the light and communication into our homes over many years. By granting them this new life or rebirth, all those old growth trees, which were felled for this purpose, are honoured.

Kijimba Kind installed along the waterfront trail attract visitors. As well, Kijimba Kind encourages visitors not only to experience the waterfront trail but, as well, to experience one another via discussion of Kijimba Kind not only as a works of art but also as collections of symbols which are culturally and environmentally significant. Kijimba Kind will enhance the Waterfront Trail by highlighting the cultural diversity as well as the history and heritage of the areas through which it passes.

The installation of Kijimba Kind along the Waterfront Trail will act as its signature. Too, they will act as highly distinctive markers of location.

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January 29, 2007