In The Shadow, artist Esther Shalev-Gerz embeds a ghostly shadow of a first-growth Douglas fir tree across the expanse of University Commons Plaza, which is situated on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Musqueam people. Pixilated through the use of differing shades of grey paving stones, The Shadow engages pedestrians through its varied tone underfoot and horizontal perspective. The Shadow invites us to consider the scale of the trees that once existed on this site. It establishes a dialogue between presence and absence, culture and nature, past, present and potential future.
The Shadow is a public artwork as part of UBC’s Outdoor Art Collection. Some of the existing pavers replaced with the same style of pavers in three different shades of grey to create the image of a 100-metre-long shadow cast by an old-growth Douglas fir tree. The Shadow is administered by the curator and staff of the Belkin Art Gallery with advice from the University Art Committee (UAC). Half of the costs were paid from a fund the University established specifically for public art, collected from Infrastructure Impact Charges paid by developers on campus. The other half of the funding was provided by the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery through the generosity of private donors.
Further details on the installation and artist can be found here.