Jordi Bonet Explosion memorial is in pieces

Damaged and lost while in city storage.

In 1966, a sculpture created by renowned Canadian artist Jordi Bonet was placed at the North Memorial Library. The statue was a tribute to those who died in the Halifax Explosion.

But in 2005 the city deemed the statue a “public safety risk,” and it was taken apart and stored; the statue then sustained further damage and some parts went missing, including a cast bronze doll that represents the child victims of The Explosion. Recently, The Halifax Explosion Memorial Sculpture Committee has revived its interest in the sculpture. “Ideally, the remaining pieces must be gathered in one place, inventoried, restored, and displayed it in an appropriate location,” the committee writes in a letter to Halifax councillors.

The cast bronze doll is “crucial to whole thing,” explains public art coordinator Jamie MacLellan. “If the piece is found, it increases the possibilities. We don’t want to bastardize the original work.”

Another suggested option is a “reinterpretation” of the work using the remaining pieces, but that raises issues of changing Bonet’s intent. For now, “a conservator will conduct an inventory to categorize all remaining pieces of the sculpture,” says MacLellan. That could could happen sometime this spring, with a final decision made afterwards.

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