Taking an Object for a Walk – post 3

I took V out of school to head to the Royal Ontario Museum for the afternoon to find our next object to take for a walk.

After the prerequisite trip to the Bat Cave we found ourselves in a gallery of objects from the Middle East. V pretty quickly settled on a curved boar tusk amulet. #28 Talisman with the “Hand of Fatima” or the Khamsa (Five) is from the 19th century and is possibly from Morocco. It consists of two tusks joined together by a silver band. From this silver mount hangs a silver hand of Fatima.

We set up our folding stools and drew the object. V took this task very seriously. She noticed a woman in the gallery also drawing something and declared that she too must be taking an object out for a walk.

We’ve really enjoyed the act of drawing in this project. I love to draw but am quite out of practice. Sometimes I am horrified with what I produce, but today I was pleased with the outcome. The drawings of course are not meant to be polished analytical representations, any sort of mark will do. I felt drawing was a way of getting to the know the object, to really look at it, as well to provide a tactile mode of transporting the object out of the museum. Drawing in museums and galleries is also a convention that I am used to having gone to art school – or used to be used to. Perhaps I need to have more of a think about how drawing like this is objectifying the object.

V whispered to the Talisman, “Where do you want to go?”, “What do you want to see?”. She waited for a reply and a few moments later heard it say “To a fountain near a paper shop.”, and “To look for other wild boar”. This got me excited…A fountain!…Where are the fountains of Toronto? For a split second I thought V might be channelling something from this Talisman….but then I thought about the second part of the request, the paper shop. She was leading me to Yorkville. She was leading me to ice cream.

Not much was to be gleaned from the information panel about this object. There was a short piece of text about religion and belief in something beyond what is visible or tangible and how one reaches out to those forces.

V led us out of the building and back up to the intersection of Bloor and Queen’s Park/Avenue Road.  Using her sketch pad and clip board V did a line drawn map of where we were and where we planned to walk.

She knew exactly how to get to the fountain and directed my every step down to when to step off the curb and which side of the scaffolding to walk under on Avenue Rd. We passed the building which used to house the Cumberland Cinema – where I used to make popcorn. I passed on this history to V. She told me that she already knew this information.

Along the way we also decided to keep a look out for dentist’s offices (remember the boar tooth), and jewellers.

We came to the Village of Yorkville Park with the “big rock” made up of rocks from the Canadian Shield and the fountain. The fountain is a long and vertical shape with many wires strung vertically from top to bottom. Water flows from the top down the wires and into a shallow pool along the length of the entire structure. It seemed to be a hangout for pigeons. I sat at the top of the rock (where I used to sleep on my breaks at the cinema) while V went over to the fountain to give it a good inspection. She was talking to the Talisman, which she told me was on her shoulder. Back on the rock she wouldn’t tell me what happened down at the fountain or what she was saying.

We stayed here a while. I sat on the rock while she scrambled around. She told me that she felt safe when climbing the rock knowing that the Talisman was with her. She definitely was doing some daredevil moves.

We stayed here for quite some time. Ice cream was all forgotten. We headed east along Cumberland towards Bay St. On the east side of Bay St. we noticed a bead and jewellery shop. ‘Perfect, we can make our own talismans’, we declared. We chose some beads and charms and even found two hands of Fatima. We discussed why it isn’t the best idea to use these in our new personal talisman’s but we bought them nonetheless as a reminder of our walk with the boar tusk.

It was a relaxing walk being led by V with the talisman on her shoulder. I enjoyed her seriousness playfulness. I have found that keeping an object in mind as I walk is a nice escape from my daily internal monologue. I felt very “in the moment”. It was a break from the general hubbub and chatter that can usually clutter my mind. I recommend it.

We saw no wild boar.


(Click image to enlarge)

Next week: Walking with Frankie Knuckles.