José Resende (Brazil)
Title: WOW Westminster
Artist: José Resende (b.1945, Brazil)
Medium: Four corten steel shipping containers
Dimensions (H x W x D): 10.7 x 42.7 x 2.4 m (35’1″ x 140’1″ x 7’10”)
Weight: 15,422 kg (34,000 lbs.)
Location: Westminster Pier Park in New Westminster, British Columbia
We are heartbroken by the devastating fire at Pier Park in New Westminster on September 13th, 2020 which led to the demolition of this iconic Legacy artwork. The fire crews worked tirelessly for days to extinguish the fire, hoping that WOW could be saved. However, the conditions of the Pier and the nature of the fire ultimately made it impossible to preserve the artwork. We are hopeful that the City of New Westminster will consider restoration and reinstallation of WOW in its plans for the reconstruction of the site, and that it would continue to be a beloved symbol of the city, as well as a legacy of the Pier and its history.
You can find more information about the fire on the City of New Westminster website.
This 140-foot-long installation, comprising four forty-foot shipping containers precariously cantilevered to form a “W,” was designed by the Brazilian artist José Resende and was the dominant view along the Fraser River from the bridges above.
Marcello Dantas, the Vancouver Biennale’s senior curator credited with having chosen both the site and the artist, says, “Resende’s WOW Westminster is not only an interpretation of the economic activity of the Fraser River and the flow of goods through trains, ships and trucks: it’s also about capturing the energy and history of this transportation hub, the transformation of the City of New Westminster and its waterfront into a recreational arts and cultural playground.”