Walking Figures – Cambie at Broadway
Magdalena Abakanowicz, Poland
Title: Walking Figures
Artist: Magdalena Abakanowicz (b. 1930, Falenty, Poland – d. 2017, Warsaw, Poland)
Medium: 9 cast-iron figures
Dimensions: 284 X 91.5 x 133 cm (112 x 36 x 52 inches) each
Weight: 650 kg (1433 lbs) each
Location: Cambie Street at Broadway, Vancouver
Walking Figures is a group of headless, cast-iron figures by Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz. They appear to be walking aimlessly without sight, and the sombre tone makes reference to both time and loss. A larger group of figures, cast simultaneously in the artist’s studio, is titled Agora and is on permanent display in Chicago’s Grant Park. An agora was a meeting place in ancient Greece where the concept of democracy began. With no citizen above the law, everyone had the power to vote in this unbiased way of life.
The Vancouver Biennale commissioned Abakanowicz specifically for its 2005-2007 exhibition. Twenty figures were individually cast at an industrial foundry in Śrem, near Poznań, Poland under the artist’s direction. She took great care to differentiate each of the figures, individually applying and manipulating the figurative frame. These unique traces marked on each individual sculpture make no two figures alike, each wholly unique in their own right.
The Walking Figures sculptures were initially installed in Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park. For the 2009-2011 Vancouver Biennale exhibition, 9 sculptures were relocated outside the Broadway – City Hall Canada Line Station (where they remain today). For the 2014-2016 exhibition 9 figures were installed along Lonsdale Avenue in the city of North Vancouver.
The sculptural installation located on Cambie Street at Broadway is a Legacy Artwork from the 2005-2007 Vancouver Biennale.
Watch the Walking Figures Guided Tour Video
Listen to the audio tour by Jessica Wallin: