By Mike Hajmasy
“I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day,” read the lyrics to the hit single ‘My Girl’ by The Temptations. They’re also the subject of a new 50-foot-long art installation featured in this year’s edition of the all-night arts festival, Scotiabank Nuit Blanche.
The words, which mean something slightly different to everyone, are for artist Catherine Chan – creator of the piece – a statement about the power of love and positivity. Catherine, a former Torontonian who now lives in Vancouver, says that it’s a reflection on the deeply personal yet universal memories we have of love, and the power of love, hope and light to help us through difficult times.
This is a sentiment she wishes to carry on beyond the Nuit Blanche arts festival and for years to come as CAMH becomes the permanent home of the art installation “I’ve Got Sunshine on a Cloudy Day.”
Catherine says the design for the piece itself was inspired by the light art and text-based works of contemporary artists including Olafur Eliasson
and Martin Creed
. “But rather than using neon lights, which are common for text-art, I used the type of letters that are commonly used for storefront signage, but in an unconventional usage.”
“I’ve Got Sunshine on a Cloudy Day” shortly after installation at U of T.
Her hope is that anyone who may be struggling can look to her piece and be comforted by the optimistic words and the powerful light that illuminates from them.
Catherine visited CAMH’s Queen Street site last week to take a tour of the campus and discuss its ongoing redevelopment. Guided by Susan Roman, Project Manager of Site Redevelopment at CAMH, and David Bayley, Manager of Materials Management, Catherine was introduced to the rich history of CAMH and its vision for the future.
Susan and David (left) describe what’s to come in Phase 1C of CAMH’s redevelopment project. “I think it’s amazing what CAMH is doing in its aim to transform lives, break down barriers and eliminate stigma, and I truly feel so grateful that my piece will become a part of the community here,” Catherine said.
Also on the tour was Che Kothari (pictured on the right above), a curator from Nuit Blanche who selected Catherine’s piece to be included in 10 for 10th – Memory Lane, a special exhibit included in this year’s festival to commemorate its 10-year milestone. After hearing about Catherine’s inspiration behind her piece, he recommended she consider donating it to CAMH.
(L to R) Susan Roman, David Bayley, Catherine Chan and Che Kothari tour the halls of CAMH’s Unit 2 and Unit 4 buildings.
CAMH Public Affairs visited the Nuit Blanche festival on Saturday night to view the piece in person. Catherine’s inspiration, motivation and vision became clear as groups of people stood in awe of the 50-foot-long, illuminated words “I’ve Got Sunshine on a Cloudy Day.” Situated on a temporary platform in a court yard on the University of Toronto St. George Campus, the words shone brightly and gave off a positive energy that cut through the chilly, damp, early morning air.
BlogTO praised the piece as being one of the best installations at Nuit Blanche. Although a precise location has yet to be determined, CAMH is thankful and honoured to receive such a generous gift, and excited to share it with passersby for years to come.