We wanted to celebrate Winnipeg and the prairie. The idea is to borrow Mies van der Rohe’s demolished monument to the November Revolution. The monument memorialized Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, martyrs of 1918-19 Spartacist Revolt. It is a coincidence that at the same time Winnipeg people were facing hard times: the 1919 Strike was going on. But what we found interesting in Mies’s design was its similarity to a set of hay bales stacked somewhere in the Canadian prairie. Having had the opportunity to visit the plains in the past, we found that Robert Kroetsch’s poems are so strong in communicating the character of the prairie, that we believe it is appropriate to use extracts of his poetry to convey the unique spirit of the people and the land: a mix of pragmatism, melancholy and a peculiar sense of humour.
MY WINNIPEG … a celebration of Winnipeg and the prairie. It is also an exercise of quotations and metaphors. The original inscription in Mies’s monument “I am, I was, I will be”, inspired us. So, what was Winnipeg? What is Winnipeg? What will Winnipeg be? And… how do you grow a poet?
Extracts from “Seed Catalogue” by Robert Kroetsch Image from “My Winnipeg” by Guy Maddin