“A garden should make you feel you’ve entered a privileged space – a place not just set apart but reverberant.” So says Michael Pollan, a renowned writer and activist.
The landscape architects at the Mosaicultures Internationales de Montreal (MIM) know how to transform a simple garden into a green haven, which could probably rival the gardens Louis XVI had in his chateaus in Paris.
A nonprofit corporation established circa 1998, MIM was formerly founded to develop the first edition of the International Mosaicultures at Park Eclusiers, the Old Port of Montreal, in association with the Department of Parks, Gardens and Green Spaces of the City of Montreal.
The journey from horticulture to mosaiculture began in the year 2000. Lise Cormier, founder of Mosaicultures Internationales Competition, during a visit to Harbin in China, fell in love with a representation of three doves that stood over 40 feet high. And so, upon her return to Quebec, she founded the Mosaicultures Internationales competition in 2000.
Under her tutelage MIM has represented Montreal at Mosaicultures Internationales in Shanghai (2006); Hamamatsu (2009); and at 9th China (Beijing) International Garden Expo (Spring 2013).
“Each competition has a different theme and the artwork reflects the culture of the participants’ countries,” says Lise Cormier speaking on the process of creation.
“The artworks which reflect the Quebec and Canadian culture, are based on serious research. We also consult local artists. Sometimes, the inspiration comes spontaneously.” she adds. According to her creation is 40% research and 60% pure intuition and creativity.
‘Land of Hope’, is the theme of MIM2013 which will be held in Montreal in September. The event will convey the importance of preserving the incredible life on planet Earth. Ms Cormier says, “the most important objective of MIM2013 is to illustrate the beauty and fragility of life and promote the utmost importance of preserving the biodiversity of our planet.
”So how do we know which flora and fauna should be used when creating sculptures? “At the design step,” says Ms Cormier “we must consider which effects we want to create with colours and texture; we must also consider the requirements of the plants used, so that they can show their full potential.
The different characteristics of the flowers, are highlighted by adding other plants,” says Ms Cormier. She further adds, “most plants used in mosaiculture are plants whose foliage is coloured (not flowering plants) so that the colour is constant. To enhance the colours of the plants used to create a mosaiculture work, we use soil plants, we call these ‘plant support’; these are actually flowering plants whose colours are brighter.
” It generally takes a year to create a sculpture. However, The Bird Tree (on display at MIM2013), took more than five years of research.
The MIM team comprises of landscape architects, structural engineers (when it is a major piece), visual designers, a horticulturist chief, welders, sculptors and irrigation experts.
“The Bird Tree sculpture represented a huge challenge at the structural level, weighing more than 100 tons (with each bird weighing between 1 and 3 tons),” says Ms Cormier. For maintaining the different sculptures, horticulturists undergo extensive training so as to best master the climbing habits of the different plants used.
So can we hope to have a mosaiculture event in the sub-continent in the near future? And if asked to portray India, through a mosaiculture sculpture, what would Ms Cormier choose to portray?
“The main idea then would be to represent the jungle, where a huge tiger is highlighted, or an artwork which depicts a legend of the land.” She further adds, “The competition takes place every three years in different cities across the world, and we are interested in receiving proposals from all over the world. It is up to the decision-makers in your country to apply to the International Committee of Mosaiculture.”
Hello! Is the concerned person reading this? Remember: Montreal International Mosaiculture 2013 runs from 9 am to 7 pm, every day from June 22nd to September 29th, 2013. So if you are in Montreal, or plan to visit Montreal really soon, you know where you just have to go!
Text By Priyanka S. Menon
Photographs Courtesy Guy Boily,
Mosaicultures Internationales de Montrea