Mr Bob Boyer, the “Carousel of Life”…and my new song
I am so pleased to be participating in the Cathedral Village Arts Festival (CVAF) this year! I wanted to write a song that somehow captures the theme, “Paint the Town” for its 25th Anniversary. I thought one way I can translate “paint” into “music” is to write song about one of the CVAF murals. Every year, the CVAF commissions different artists to paint murals around the neighbourhood. Take a look!
PHOTO GALLERY: New mural created at Regina Cathedral Village Arts Festival
I decided to try to write a song about Mr Bob Boyer’s mural “Carousel of Life.” I have so enjoyed this process; according to my research “Carousel of Life” was commissioned /completed in 1996, which is 21 years ago. I am not sure if it the very first mural that CVAF commissioned, but probably among the first. Not only was it among the first, Bob Boyer was a cathedral resident, a prominent Métis artist with an international reputation, and a respected fine arts professor and mentor. The mural, “Carousel of Life,” was dismantled with the building of the new grocery store, (though does live on in picture-form in the North-East entrance) so perhaps a song may respectfully honour and remember Mr. Boyer’s artistic impulse in creating it.
I have to say that I found this a much more daunting task than I thought I might. I really studied the mural. I am a singer-songwriter, and so to really look long and hard at what a visual artist did was a very interesting experience. There are so many ways that a song can go, so many little decision points along the way. I think that the same may be said for fine art. Mr. Boyer painted a blanket border on his four horses, consistent with his large body of work, “Blanket Statements.” I have titled the song “A Blanket of Horses” This border is quite geometric compared to the smooth lines of the horses. The horses, to me look like they are in motion, particularly given the mane of the white horse, and at the same time, they appear still. Obviously, choosing four horses is significant. I sort of allude to the fact that Bob Boyer, himself, may be the fifth horse(man) in the bridge section of the song: “The painter said good-bye, amidst equestrian chorus. Now the horseman in the sky, leaves the story for us.”
It is interesting that the title is “Carousel of Life” as blue horse is furthest away, but is also, technically speaking in the “lead”. The white horse is the closest to the viewer, but is, at the same time, the last. So, a horse may be first and last at the same time. In a way, perhaps this has to do with no one is really in the lead or no one is following; like a carousel and like life. I also noted the horses smiling quite genuinely and largely, with their eyes looking squarely at the viewer… almost like they know they are in a carousel.
Hope to see you at CVAF!