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Art Installation by RRC Instructor Shows Libraries Some Love

August 21, 2012

Photo by Mike Deal, Winnipeg Free Press.

A Red River College instructor is one of two local artists paying tribute to the importance of libraries via a newly-unveiled public installation.

Darren Stebeleski, who teaches Graphic Design at RRC, is the visionary behind Sentinel of Truth, a public sculpture installation at Millennium Library Park that acts as a monument to libraries as defenders of freedom of speech.

The installation features text excerpts from 18 books — many by authors whose words have been censored or silenced — that are etched into recessed stainless steel panels set into a 50-metre steel wall.

“As a society, our ideas and our truths are ever fragile, open to corruption and attack through censorship,” says Stebeleski of the work. “The existence of a free and open library guarantees their safety and their dissemination.”

“Our stories are more than diversion; they are reflections of ourselves, explaining our lives to us. And our libraries are more than buildings that house books; they are unflagging shields protecting armouries of fearless truth. We must never fail to watch over them, as they watch over us.”

According to Alison Gillmor, arts columnist for the Winnipeg Free Press, “Stebeleski references the power and palpable physicality of books by using the solidity of steel. But he is also aware of the fragility of free speech … With its changing nature, Sentinel reminds us that we can’t take reading for granted.”

Stebeleski’s work is part of the Winnipeg Arts Council’s public arts initiative, as is its accompanying installation — emptyful, by Vancouver artist/architect Bill Pechet. Both works were unveiled during a public opening on Aug. 15, 2012.

Click here for more information about Sentinel of Truth.