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The Burn, a series of interactive installations designed by award-winning artist Roger Mooking, is touring the city of Toronto until March 11.
Mooking’s goal is to provide sanctuaries for “love and healing” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The vessels are made up of box-like containers holding small wooden spheres, and will tour the city across 20 locations. These installations will lead to a closing ceremony at Nathan Phillips Square on March 11, which is the third anniversary of the day COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, according to the City of Toronto.
When visiting the installations, people are encouraged to interact with them. Visitors can pick up a wooden sphere from the dish, hold it in their palm, and visualize their intention before placing the sphere into the circular opening located in the triangle at the front of the gold-coloured, geometric container. The ball will spiral down the vessel until the sphere hits a metal plate, creating vibration and sound.
Alongside Mooking, designer Javid JAH and Catherine Taǫmęˀšreˀ Tammaro utrihǫt (seated FaithKeeper) Artist, a part of the Wendat Confederacy, helped bring The Burn to life.
“We wanted to touch people emotionally and spiritually and we wanted to give them the space to grieve for the great losses we experienced as a result of COVID-19, and also transformed those sorrowful energies into release and healing,” said Tammaro. “It has tremendous spiritual potential, both individually and collectively for the city itself.”
An overarching theme of this project is to provide an avenue of love and healing while also commemorating those affected by the pandemic, Mooking stated in a press release from the City of Toronto.
“We need to mark that space for the ones who have walked on, who have left us spiritually and we need to re-energize and re-empower ourselves to face the future,” Tammaro said.
Residents attending the ceremony in March can expect to see three very large sculptural forms where their intentions are placed–which are the small wooden spheres–and later consumed by fire for 24 hours during the burning display, Tammaro explained.
“Individuals will be encouraged to commune with each other and participate in three dance forms that will help keep the energy moving,” said Tammaro “This will help the transformative aspect of the ceremony.”
“It is the idea of taking intentions and burning those intentions,” said Mooking.“We will then take those ashes and repurpose them into community gardens around the city.”
This installation was visited on Jan. 22, 2023, in the Officers’ Blue Barracks building, as this display will be located at North York from Jan.19 to 25, allowing visitors to interact with it and tour the artifacts within the rest of the site (Rachel Aversa/On The Record).
Mooking explained his vision for The Burn as an opportunity “for everyone to experience love and healing.”
“One thing I know is every human being on the planet is seeking love,” said Mooking. “We all have those moments when we need healing and we need to lean on one another collectively so we can do that.”
Umbereen Inayet, a programming supervisor for Toronto History Museums, took part in the planning that went into the installations as a whole and ensured accessibility for residents.
“We had to think about how we as a city, and the multiple diverse facets that encapsulate the city could come together as one,” said Inayet. “That is really important to Stronger TOgether and we did this to creatively serve everyone through artwork.”
For further information on The Burn, including schedule and vessel locations throughout Toronto, visit the City of Toronto website.