The Lady (2015)
Artist: Myfanwy MacLeod
Location: 1380 Lonsdale Avenue,
North Vancouver, British Columbia
Material: Cast Bronze
The Lady, created for the CentreView Public Art heritage project brings together two equally important yet seemingly separate subjects. As set out in the City of North Vancouver's community vision, The Lady addresses how we can make our cities more liveable for everyone. Secondly, The Lady (which is based on a little-known incident from the history of British Columbia) draws our attention to one of the more odd and curious events that make up our past. In 1862, Frank Laumeiste, a veteran of the U.S. Camel Corps, bought several Bactrian camels from the U.S. Army after their unsuccessful attempt to use them as pack animals in the southwest United States. He took his herd to the new Colony of British Columbia, where he used the animals to carry freight on Douglas Road, Old Caribou Road, and other gold rush-era routes there. Between the region's rocky trails and roads, which cut up the camels' feet, and the hostility between camels and the other animals (horses and mules), this experiment also failed. Afterward, Laumeister put his camels out to pasture. However, some camels managed to escape. The last sighting of a feral camel in British Columbia took place sometime in the 1930s.
Photography by Carvel Creative
In fall 2015, Canadian artist Myfanwy MacLeod (no stranger to complex projects of significance) sought a comprehensive team to fabricate her latest commission for North Vancouver. Carvel Creative's extensive experience made this an ideal partnership.
The Lady, a life-size bronze tribute, draws on the tradition of the equestrian monument while questioning the heroic tradition it embodies. By replacing the horse's majestic beauty for the atypical camel, the work challenges conventional representations of heroism - redefining the image we have of the Pacific Northwest and a reminder that camels once lived there alongside caribou. Carvel and the artist proceeded to research the animal as a reference for digital modeling. Utilizing ZBrush, Carvel produced several iterations before artist approval and structural engineering review inclusion of connection details and fabrication design. The camel's basic form was milled from high-density EPS form prior to manual detailing. Carvel used a combination of sealing methodologies leading to texturing-applying fur texture and the fine details found on a dromedary camel.
The plug was taken to a partner foundry for casting; using the lost wax process, the foundry first generated molds to form the wax components, ceramic-dipped, and cast the pieces in bronze. The components were then welded and seamed together before the final patina coating, a mottled dark gold. On-site in North Vancouver, Carvel's experienced installation team efficiently offloaded the artwork, placed and leveled The Lady. She was removed for grouting, re-located, and permanently anchored. Lastly, concrete was poured around the base and flooded up to the feet, suggesting the appearance of the camel having wandered onto the corner of Lonsdale and 13th Street.
At the foot of the monument, a bronze replica of a newspaper clipping is embedded, showcasing an advertisement for the sale of 25 camels, enticing viewers with a glimpse of history into this remarkable tale.