Regent Park’s newest piece of public art has stories to tell
Outside the Daniels Spectrum in Regent Park, a series of electric-hued portraits are painted on nine-foot slabs of laminated glass. In one, a young girl with missing teeth flashes a grin. In another, an Asian octogenarian’s face is splashed with colourful splotches and chevron stripes. And in another, a woman is rendered with a third eye. They’re just three of the dozen faces that make up visual artist Dan Bergeron’s latest installation, Faces of Regent Park, which was completed in spring. The portraits are part of the neighbourhood’s ongoing revitalization—the area’s biggest overhaul since it was originally built as a housing project in the 1940s and 1950s.
Bergeron is best known for his earlier series of giant Regent Park portraits, a temporary installation that he completed in 2008 as part of the Luminato Festival. His new set is meant to be a permanent neighbourhood fixture. Bergeron began by photographing around 45 subjects, then narrowed the roster down to a dozen faces that he felt best represented the area’s diversity. He painted over the black and white photographs with swaths of colours, graffiti scrawls and patterns. “I wanted to use high-contrast hues because where the pieces are located in the plaza, the concrete is grey and the buildings are dark,” he says. “I really wanted to make these bright pieces as a juxtaposition to the surroundings.” We spoke with him about the story behind each piece. Click through the photo gallery to read what he said.