When it arrived in May, Montrealers were flocking to Old Port to catch a glimpse of the visiting humpback whale. Its arrival provided a brief moment of happiness and hope, in some ways, for Montrealers that spent the previous two months waiting to find out if the pandemic would end.
Sadly, in June, the humpback whale perished after a boat collision, according to the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals. The whale was a young female, measured 10.2 metres in length and weighed over 17 tons.
Now the Montreal-based artist Geraldine Laurendeau has erected a new public art installation to memorialize the creature with a piece called CeTACe, a piece whose skeletal appearance is intended to remind Montrealers of its archaeological remains and its untimely death, inspiring them to look to protecting what she calls umbrella species.
"The idea is of taking umbrella species and making it a large structure that becomes a shelter for humans as well,” she told CTV Montreal in an interview. "If we protect these animals, if we protect the ecosystem, we will protect ourselves as well."
The sculpture is displayed at Montreal East's Parc de la Promenade, and can be found on the City of Montreal's interactive map of cultural activities and installations here. It took one month to design, build and assemble it; the artist's process of creating it can be found on her Facebook page.