The EAST VAN public artwork by Vancouver's Ken Lum is now installed at East 6th & Clark Drive
I flagged a story in the Vancouver Sun from late November about a new public artwork by Ken Lum being erected on Clark Drive. It's a giant cross emblazoned with EAST VAN, and it will be an illuminated LED sign that you will be able to easily see from many points across the city. I was curious about the status of this piece so I called up Vancouver's Public Art Program Manager Bryan Newson, and as fate would have it, the sign was being installed today.
So I jumped in my car and toting my camera I decided to get some shots before it got dark. I arrived just as the soaking wet crew were just getting ready to pack up for the day, and the fellow in the cherry picker was coming back to the ground. Here's the Flickr slideshow of the sign, and a short video clip.
The sign stands roughly 60 feet off the ground at its top, and rests on a thick concrete base about 10 feet high about seven feet in circumference. When the city connects it to the grid it will shine out in the direction of False Creek flats, sitting just above and east of the VCC Millennium Line station.
To say that this will probably become an iconic, and likely cherished symbol of East Vancouver is probably an understatement. The EAST VAN cross symbol derives from a gang insignia that goes back generations. Underneath the cross the word "RULES" would slash across. I grew up in East Vancouver, and while I remember the symbol, I never knew enough tough guys to associate it with any particular individuals or group.
Which is why Lum can probably get away with using the symbol. It's become the stuff of legend in this part of the city. Considering that US cities are often dotted with large crosses standing by all night churches that say "Jesus Saves", I'm sure that everyone will have their own interpretation of this sign and its meaning.
What's almost guaranteed is that it will seem sacrilegious to some, and it will stir its own controversy. A Vancouver Sun photographer I bumped there into thought that the sign was odd, and yes, he knew the symbol from his upbringing in the city.
For me, it's just a part of the city I grew up in. Let's hope that the city embraces it.
** Take our new CityCaucus.com Poll: "The East Van cross represents to me..."
- post by Mike