Toronto Through My Lens

“Cracked Wheat”

Sitting in front of the Gardiner Museum at 111 Queen’s Park is a curious ceramic and bronze sculpture entitled Cracked Wheat. Created by artist Shary Boyle in 2018, this quirky and cracked flask-shaped vase stands tenuously on two little gold legs.

The gold cracks serve as an homage to the 16th century Japanese tradition of Kintsugi, the art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with powdered gold. The tradition celebrates breakage and repair as part of an object’s history. This detail is a tribute to the Kintsugi collection at the Gardiner Museum, a place that is known for showcasing craftsmanship and quality from all over the world, in addition to commenting on colonialism and object valuation.

In contrast, the Canadian Wheat pattern on the front of the vase is a nod to mass-produced tableware designs that were made popular in the 1960s, work that would not likely be on display at the Gardiner Museum. Here, Shary Boyle has aspired to create a work that speaks to the universality of ceramics and show us what they can teach us about our history.1

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  1. David

    very interesting. I have never been inside the Gardiner Museum. I should give it a try one day.

  2. Michal Calder

    Was just there a couple of weeks ago to see a wonderul miniature exhibition, Housewarming, on until May 7:

    I highly recommend it. However, I’d also give more time to see the permanent collection, as well.

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