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Orenda

Orenda

Marlene Hilton Moore
b.1944

Orenda
  • Stainless steel and granite boulders
  • 2000-01
  • 24 m x 4.6 m x 4.6 m
  • 373 -371 Front Street West, Toronto

About the artwork

The stainless steel leaf of the sculpture Orenda is representative of the salix nigra, black willow tree, indigenous to this site. Orenda is an Iroquois word which means place of energy, suggesting the conceptual joining of the leaf as protective canopy and the bridge as passage. The sculpture, in referencing the Iroquois, also suggests the passage of time, evoking reciprocal energy from the earliest cultures that used this site to the cultures that reside here today. The site is bounded on Front Street by a stainless steel fence with a laser-cut willow leaf design. Large granite boulders, graced by fallen willow leaves of stainless steel, are placed in the centre courtyard and the side gardens.

About the artist

Marlene Hilton-Moore is a self-taught artist born in New Brunswick and living in Ontario. Her work is in numerous collections, including the Canada Council for the Arts’ Art Bank and the Wilfrid Laurier University collection. She has also produced a number of works of public art, including Monument aux Valeureux in Ottawa and Column of Valour, a monument dedicated to volunteer firefighters in Barrie, Ontario.

Fun facts

  • The artist was largely influenced by the sight referring to the willow tree once living there, using the sinuous forms of the steel structure to reproduce the branches.
  • Moore was always inspired by nature, working with steel to recreate former habitats and natural shapes in order to revitalise urban spaces and areas.

Engagement questions

  • What challenges does this type of media pose?