Wandering deep in the Wacky Woods, the sense of wonder began to take second seat to a sense of curiosity. It seemed every corner that we passed led to yet another section of items and artifacts that were beyond imagination. The message that George Sawchuk was trying to share with his audience became clearer and more abstract with each passing step. The entire outdoor exhibit is a manifestation of dichotomy, and you leave a changed person with deeper insights into both your own being as well as the wider world around you.
We’re back at George Sawchuk’s Outdoor Art Exhibit in Fanny Bay, BC, Canada today, continuing our photoblog series “Two Toads in Wonderland” which highlights a wondrous experience and series of photographs from the adventure we had this day.
To fully appreciate the message that George was trying to share with his audience, you have to reach deep past the veneer that makes the initial impression. As we approached George’s house, a clearing emerged and the amount of art seemed to increase in volume. And meaning.
When we first encountered the Wrong Way sign here, it caused us to take pause. Had we come too far? Were we welcome here? Standing in the silence of the forest, we could feel George spurring us on… “there’s more to see here, come in!”
Since we’ve introduced this series, we’ve been contacted by several folks here on Vancouver Island who knew of this place and knew George well. Each and every person talks about the welcome feeling they had when exploring George’s exhibit and how as you wandered about the place you could hear his music in his workshop… beckoning you and driving you on. You were always greeted with a smile and a kind word, and George was well-known to spend time with everyone sharing stories and his visions for his art.
As we stood in George’s backyard taking in all his features, the world suddenly came to life. A dog barked nearby, and further sounds began to take on a melodic presence. A toad began to croak. Chickens were clucking. And then more toads. And more… and more… a symphony of nature had begun, and we had front-row seats! The magic here is palpable, and George has touched this island and left behind a legacy that time will only strengthen.
This piece was a true highlight of our visit and really is one of our favorite pieces that George created. I have to be honest here, I had to look at this one for a bit before the true nature of its message came through. We have a head atop a wooden pole, and an old air pump from a gas station affixed to it. Careful scrutiny reveals that there is a line leading from the air pump to the head… this piece is the personification of an airhead! You can literally feel George’s concept of modern-day living and how we felt that most of us wandered around the world with little idea as to what’s really going on around us. Utterly profound.
If you’re not paying close attention, you can easily miss some of the exhibits here. Some of the messages in the pieces are subtle and require some thought. That, and being acutely aware of the immediate surroundings.
Some of the pieces are difficult to understand, but are no less profound. We see a strong contrast between man-made tools and iron items, and the surrounding natural environs it lives in. What do you see here? What does it say to you? This is all part of the highly personal experience one has in visiting this wonderful place.
First glance here reveals some obvious messages, but it’s the viewer who spends time absorbing the finer details that comes away with a deeper sense of the story behind the various pieces. The obvious element of an iron wood stove with a frying pan and a big red rock cooking on it share something instantly, but look deeper here… and you see a transfusion hooked up to a tree. A lifeline for nature, if you will. I couldn’t help but feel George’s pain for what we’ve done to the world we live in and how this is a statement of how we must be the ones to fix these problems.
I don’t think George thought much of Canada’s involvement in war. These sorts of personal and controversial messages spark conversation and thought, and this is a healthy thing in a fast-paced and often negative world. This merging of nature, wood carvings and various artifacts blend together to create an important message. Perhaps through open talks about these issues can we find true world peace.
I really don’t know, please don’t ask. Look closely, my friends, you will find humor in this piece. There is a pair of golf balls hanging from a very specific place that really adds a bit of “je ne sais quoi”. It did make us laugh, no doubt there. I think that’s really one of the best bits about visiting the exhibit; that magical blending of politics, humor and environmental stewardship that only George Sawchuk could have brought to light.
Talk about a piece that makes you laugh and cry at the same time!
No! I am not
for I did not
my previous visit.
How utterly profound is this? No matter what your religious belief or conviction, this is a message that hits home almost immediately. This is a true statement about how we all treat each other, and really leaves the viewer wondering about many deeper implications.
There is no way you can visit the Wacky Woods and leave the same person you were when you entered. There is something here for everyone, something personal and utterly profound.
We still have a large collection of images to share with everyone from this adventure, so please do stay tuned. We really appreciate your visit today, and as always we encourage all our visitors to leave us any comments you may have as we truly love to hear from everyone.