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Banner rebranding Bowfort Towers as Nenshi Towers appears on contentious art installation
Published Saturday, October 14, 2017 12:48PM MDT
Last Updated Saturday, October 14, 2017 6:24PM MDT
Motorists along the Trans-Canada Highway near Canada Olympic Park encountered what is likely a politically motivated message on their Saturday morning drive after someone decided to credit the incumbent mayor for his contributions to the much-maligned public art project.
A banner designating the four Bowfort Towers as Nenshi Towers was affixed to the art installation late Friday night or early Saturday morning . The banner has since been removed and the individual or group responsible for the sign have yet to be identified
The much-scrutinized art installation was unveiled in early August and immediately drew criticism regarding the cultural sensitivity of the piece, its $500,000 price tag and the awarding of the project to a New York-based artist.
Chima Nemdirim, chair of the campaign to re-elect Naheed Nenshi, says Nenshi was very disappointed to hear of the banner.
“It’s art," said Nemdirim. "Some people like it, some people don’t. You’re free to have your own opinion, and that’s great, but you shouldn’t go and deface public property.”
“We reported it to the city. The banner came down and they are investigating. The City has a corporate security department and they will be investigating. The banner was obviously manufactured and I think they’re going to be able to figure out who paid to have it printed.”
Nemdirim adds he doesn't think the public will fall for the 'dirty tricks' that have surfaced of late in the race to be mayor. “Our campaign’s just focused on being positive (and) meeting people. The mayor is going to be in every quadrant of the city, all throughout the weekend and we’re just talking to people and talking about the kind of city we want.”
In the days following the unveiling of Bowfort Towers, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the sculpture had strong ties to Blackfoot culture and its design had been thoroughly vetted by Aboriginal experts. The mayor conceded the City of Calgary’s public art policy would benefit from increased input from civilians.
Funding for the Bowfort Towers was included in the City's budget for the Trans-Canada Highway/Bowfort Road Northwest interchange construction project budget as outlined in the City of Calgary's public art policy.
The Nenshi Towers banner appeared as Calgarians prepare to cast their ballots in Monday's municipal election.