Jean Bridge

visual artist

Artist Statement

Canupy: Achilles Shadow is a garden of native tree saplings that follow the imagined contour of shade provided by a future fully-grown sugar maple.

Produced in partnership with Tree Ottawa, Canupy: Achilles Shadow stretches the notion of a garden into an orphanage for trees; a platform for tree rescue. Volunteers collected unwanted tree saplings of many species, shapes and sizes. These small trees are planted and nurtured here – tracing the branching pattern of a tree. They will each ultimately be adopted and replanted where they can continue to flourish and contribute to the regeneration of the urban forest.

Canupy: Achilles Shadow takes up the challenge Brian Newman posed in 1972 with his nearby sculpture (borrowed from Canada Council Art Bank) titled Achilles. Like a fallen construction sign, it reminds us that – from antiquity to the present – human greed is our collective fatal flaw. We forget that nature is waiting to take back the earth. Canupy: Achilles Shadow conjures a vision od a world renewed in shade and a future beyond the limitations of industrial, consumerist society. Achilles fell and Canupy grew.

The creation of Canupy:Achilles Shadow was an ambitious process that involved the help and support of many people from the Canadensis Botanical Garden Society who are striving to establish a national botanical garden at the Experimental Farm in Ottawa; Mary Faught , landscape architect, land artist and curator of Beyond the Edge Artists' Gardens of which Canupy:Achilles Shadow is a part; and Gregor Ulmann, artist, builder and world traveller who provided remarkable logistic support and tireless hard work to make this garden a reality.

Canupy: Achilles Shadow is part of a larger project: Canupy Parallel Tree aimed at designing an alternative ‘tree’ for the urban environment; a safe, sustainable, engineered structure of at least 5 metres designed to support growing plants. Canupy complements urban forestry renewal. For more information see the Canupy Parallel Tree Prospectus.