The temporary yet impactful display from activist, Ai Weiwei, which has been displayed at The Forks will be taken down by the end of the Fall.
Forever Bicycles is a display looming over 30 feet tall, and consisting of 1,254 steel bicycles. Starting this week, fencing will go up around the exhibit to prepare for its professional dismantlement.
The art exhibit has been displayed in the CN Field at The Forks since September 2019, with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights serving as its backdrop, and over the course of the next few weeks, deconstruction will take place. Winnipeggers have until early November to catch a last glimpse of Bicycles Forever before it is sent back to the lender.
The display was the first of Weiwei's pieces to be shown in Winnipeg and the first international loan spearheaded by The Forks Foundation.
Ai Weiwei is seen as one of the world's greatest living artists. He works in many different mediums and creates his pieces with a common inspiration of human rights and the difficulty refugees face
"We strongly believe in the power of public art to humanize a space, to add beauty to it, and to instigate conversation," says Sara Stasiuk, Chief Executive Officer, of The Forks North Portage. "Art is a key feature of The Forks and something visitors rank as one of their favourite reasons to visit. We believe art should be for everyone, and we love to hear the conversations that spark as people experience the many pieces on our site."
Many more art displays are being placed on the grounds of The Forks, such as the Totem Doodem murals, the Path Through Time/Wall Through Time sculpture, Cool Gardens and more. These have made The Forks popular for its display of public art from local, national, and international artists.
The Forks recognizes the support of one Winnipegger who loves and values art because, without them, the loan of Forever Bicycles would not have been possible.
"We are incredibly grateful to donor Michael Nesbitt, whose vision and commitment to Winnipeg made it possible for us to showcase Forever Bicycles at The Forks," says Clare MacKay, Chief Communities Officer for The Forks North Portage. "He is a passionate lover of art who believes in removing the barriers of access. It was his generous donation that allowed for us all to enjoy this work here in Winnipeg for the past three years."
The loan of Forever Bicycles has sparked talk about continuing to bring art to The Forks, whether it's permanent works or temporary displays.
Currently, there are over 30 art displays at The Forks, and the upcoming Warming Huts will add another component to the rest of the public artworks. This year’s Warming Huts winners will be announced in November with the build week taking place at the end of January.