David Jacob Harder, Artist – Cariboo, BC

David Jacob Harder’s work focuses primarily on a heightened awareness of the raw nature and the malleability of the natural and social landscape. In recent years he has been working extensively in public art and site-specific installations. He was born in Quesnel, British Columbia and grew up in a rural homestead setting. He earned a BFA in Visual Arts as well as BA in Social History from Thompson Rivers University in 2012. His work has shown nationally and internationally, and is represented in several public collections – including six permanent public sculptures. His upcoming solo exhibition Poly(mer)hedron is on display at the Kamloops Art Gallery from July 6 until September 7.

  1. Putting the public in public art

The general public has serious reservations when it comes to public art. Over the last two years I have been working to understand the relationship between art and the public. With two large projects – one in Richmond, BC and the other in Penticton, BC – I engaged the public in the process of making and helping direct elements of the work. The consultation and collaboration have directly connected them with me and the work, and allowed them to take ownership of it. This has engaged a dialogue that genuinely reflects the place and helps draw lines connecting our similarity to one another.

This project (pictured above) is Together and composed of over three-hundred silhouettes of the actual community members from the City of Richmond. Some were culled from the public archives, but most were taken from my original photographs when I spent a few weeks meeting people throughout the city.

  1. Journaling

David Jacob Harder, Gatorade Bottle and Lid (450-500 years), 2019, concrete

For six years I have been charting my inanimate object use. It first started with my “metal journal” where I calculated the amount of soil needed to make each item and now have evolved to the poly(mer)hedron or “plastic journal.” I have been journaling all the different items that I use in a day that are plastic or polymer based. Once I have done journaling my day I will calculate the estimated lifespan of these objects and select a number of them to make facsimiles using cast and concrete. So far my largest days of the plastic journal has been 950,000 years and 500 tons of soil in the metal journal.

  1. Text-based installations

David Jacob Harder, CARE (Canadian Tired) Cariboo Mountains, BC, 2018

A word can have many meanings and often it depends on who’s reading it and how it is presented.

  1. Natural interventions

West Fraser Road Closure

Landslides, forest fires, floods, and different natural interventions change our lives and augment our patterns showing us that we “share the road” with other systems.

  1. Nature/nurture

Ghost Lake, BC

I grew up very rural in a somewhat back-to-the-land bush-child lifestyle. Being homeschooled for the better part of my adolescent life, I was given the opportunity to spend most days in the forests, mountains, and fields around our farm. As an adult, I have been trying to reconnect with that spirit of my pseudo-feral self and I have been spending at least one hour each day in nature. I have found myself humbled and engaged a deeper connection to myself and ecology. This practice has helped with the anxiety and uncertainty, and allowed me the slow down time and grow my appreciation for life.