The Rooster of Barcelos Project will be located in Little Portugal At Dundas West & Lakeview Ave (1212 Dundas St. W, at the Lakeview Ave Parkette). For ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021-2022, a rooster statue has been gifted by the Municipality of Barcelos, Portugal to the City of Toronto to be designed, painted and displayed in Little Portugal, Toronto. This concrete statue (2.8 m. X 1.9 m.) is a blank canvas to be re-imagined by an Artist according to one or both of the guiding themes outlined below.
The Barcelos Rooster, commonly called the Portuguese Rooster, is said to be the embodiment of the Portuguese love of life. It is an unofficial symbol of Portugal found throughout Portugal in town squares, art work and souvenir trinkets. The Rooster stands for pride, hope, a new day, fertility, resurrection and as well as other cultural meanings.
In this artists’ call, the meaning and symbology of the rooster will be explored in two main ideas or guiding themes:
1. The universal meaning of the rooster as a symbol of the sun. 2. The historical legend of the “Galo de Barcelos” or the Barcelos Rooster.
Submissions can respond to one or both themes.
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Quentin Commanda is an Anishnaabe Artist from Nipissing First Nation in northern Ontario. There are several key teachings that have been placed on the rooster. The medicine wheel teachings, the 7 grandfather teachings, the teachings of polarity (duality of all life) and the turtle island story, including the 13-grandmother clan system. There are many layers within each teaching. All of these teachings are for gaining harmony within ourselves and in nature. The flowers represent the symbol of Love and new life. The berries symbolize our connection to Mother Earth. The design is meant to resemble an Ex-Ray photo of Spirit.
Clandestinos design proposal is a loving tribute to the original Galo de Barcelos that incorporates elements from both Portugal and Toronto and emphasizes the connection between both places.
Starting from the base, you’ll find the iconic Toronto skyline and the beautiful bridge over the Douro River, with figures in silhouette that allow anyone to imagine themselves.
Moving up the body, the inclusion of both the internationally recognizable Portuguese tile, or azulejo, patterns, and the classic Portuguese dot painting style found on traditional folk representations of the Galo de Barcelos, pays homage to the strength of the Portuguese community here in Toronto, while also evoking mandalas in honour of the many peoples and cultures that call Toronto home.
The tail design includes the yellow crowned bishop representing Portugal on one side, and the blue jay representing Canada on the other. On one side, the eye of the rooster is that of a wise elder, eye reminding us of the importance of connection to the motherland, the past, and to pride in our community, while on the other, a youthful eye represents the future and the importance of passing down cultural heritage.
These are the stories and struggles of the Portuguese and all other immigrants in Canada.
EAST SIDE: It’s symbolized by the metaphor of the cocoon. It reflects growth and changes as an immigrant. As the caterpillar transforms inside the cocoon to become the butterfly, it acquires wings to fly and grow. The many types of colourful butterflies illustrate the many different cultures and immigrants. It morphs seamlessly into the maple leaf; this transformation represents survival, change and growth.
The fish pattern on the comb represents the fishing; the wave pattern on the wattle represents the ocean and water in Portugal and the Azores Islands.
The order of Christ Cross is a national emblem of Portugal. It represents strength, honor, fairness, integrity and honesty.
WEST SIDE: It’s symbolized by the maple leaf. It reflects the opportunities Canada gives to all immigrants. It morphs seamlessly into the butterfly which gives the freedom and strength to thrive and grow.
The Canadian red maple leaf along with the flower of the native medicine wheel symbolizes Canada’s native people and its land, which also symbolizes unity, tolerance, and peace.
“A symbol of the sun, and of pride, the Rooster of Barcelos is renowned throughout Portugal and the world. My team and myself will paint the rooster in blue with white lines that are like celestial maps referencing Portugal’s place as a country that generated world exploration.
“We know of Ferdinand Magellan whose expedition (1519-1522) to the East Indies led to the first circumnavigation of the Earth. There were many other Portuguese explorers who opened up world shipping routes to Asia and the Americas. The Barcelos rooster will stand out with its light blue colour and its surface white lines. Like celestial maps, or exploratory shipping routes, the lines on a sky-blue background on my Barcelos Rooster will also suggest the important role the sun plays in navigation at sea; also, the historic and ongoing pride Portuguese feel about the way they helped develop and build the world we live in and are part of.”
“Inspired by the theme of “new beginnings, hope, and optimism”, this design was created to honour the rich culture of the Portuguese people. Because of the Rooster’s symbolic importance, vibrant colours were used as a celebration of energy emanating from the sculpture. Bold, playful, and organic shapes compliment the Rooster’s curvaceous body. Within those shapes, an array of different patterns fit together like illuminated stained glass pieces. The imagery is an abstract interpretation of Portuguese embroidery with a whimsical and modern twist. Contrasting colours of blues and yellows dance together in perfect harmony, symbolizing the country’s gorgeous coastal views, inspired by travels to Portugal with the everlasting sunshine and sparkling blue waters. Enjoy the intricate details that may not be seen at first glance, but act as hidden gems the longer you look. This lively and decorative design is a joyful, positive representation of Little Portugal, bringing the symbolic Rooster to life.”
Review committee members have been selected on the basis of their familiarity with a broad spectrum of public art practices, specialized expertise, fair-mindedness, and regional representation. The committee will assess submissions based on: clarity of project concept; alignment with theme and merit of applicant’s arts practice.
Key Program Dates:
Submission Deadline: February 15, 2021 Stage 1. Short-listed Artist Selected: March 12, 2021 Stage 2. Final Design Announced: June 10, 2021 Public Artwork Production/ Installation Period: June 2021 – September 2021