Saturday, June 22, 2024

Here’s the story behind a well-known art piece in James Bay


For over two decades, a nearly six-metre-high steel sign has turned heads and soared over the outskirts of downtown Victoria, steps from Beacon Hill Park.

“Night is for sleeping, day is for resting,” it reads.

The phrase is a quote from 19th-century American composer John Philip Sousa and emphasizes leisure and accommodation, the Capital Regional District (CRD) explains.

Unveiled in 1997, the art installation was crafted by Mowry Baden and is found at the corner of Douglas and Blanshard Streets, outside The Landmark building.

Two benches with mattress tuft patterns positioned adjacent to the sign complete the installation and give pedestrians a spot to rest. 

(Victoria Buzz)

Baden, an American sculptor who hails from Los Angeles, California, is also behind the Pavilion, Rock and Shell sculpture outside Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, which came to be in 2003.

Calling Canada home since 1971, Baden has practised sculpture for decades, teaching the craft at various universities, including the University of Victoria, before retiring in the late 90s, the CRD says. 

“Over the past 40 years, he has developed various methods of decentering vision and interfering with habitual human gestures,” reads the LandMarks Public Art database.

“He has built harnesses, furniture, rooms, pathways and catwalks, all with the goal of impinging upon the viewer’s movements and awakening a physical self-awareness that was previously unconscious.”

All these years later, “Night is for sleeping, day is for resting” remains perched atop a bustling intersection and seen by countless passersby day after day.

It begs the question—what are your thoughts on the well-known art piece?

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