HARRIET TUBMAN NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE ST.CATHARINES, ONTARIO 2010
When Ada Summer finally got a chance to see the sculpture of the legendary Underground Railroad conductor that will soon be installed outside of her church, it was everything she could have hoped for. The British Methodist Episcopal Church trustee and treasurer Ada Summer had heard local artist Frank Rekrut was creating a bust of Harriet Tubman to be displayed in the church's commemorative garden. As it neared completion, Summer was invited to see the work in progress.She wasn't disappointed. "It sent shivers up my spine," she said. The clay sculpture is based on a rare photograph of Tubman, taken from the approximate time period she was a member of the St. Catharines church. Summer said she loves how it appears the woman is about to speak. "It's exactly like it is in the picture," she said. "It looks so realistic."Summer added she showed photos of the sculpture to members of the church, who were in "awe" of what they saw. Just how the sculpture came to be created for the church is something of a story in itself. Last fall, the St. Catharines green committee, working with donations of time and materials from local businesses, created a garden outside the Geneva Street church. Meant to be a place of quiet contemplation, the garden was also designed to show the proper respect for the church, the first and only federally designated historical site in the city. While wonderfully preserved on the inside, complete with many of the original wooden pews, the outside of the church had until recently left much to be desired. On a busy urban street and blocked by billboards on the north side, the church was often overlooked. After the installation of the garden by local firm Eco Landscape Design, green committee members Peter Thompstone and Donna Van Weenen expressed their vision for a complete garden, one that included benches, wooden fencing at the back of the property, and a sculpture of Tubman. Since then, donations have kept on coming. Brian McMullan, Mayor - St. Catharines with Frank Rekrut at the unveiling of the Harriet Tubman sculpture.At the same time, Rekrut, who had recently returned with his wife, Laura Thompson, from Florence, Italy, was working on a sculpture. Rekrut, who has a Geneva Street workshop where he creates cast stone fireplaces, had just started taking up this type of work. Originally planning to create a sculpture of a European cardinal, he wanted to take on a project with more local significance and thought of the church down the road. It was while in the middle of production that Thompson showed him a newspaper article about the garden and the dream of a statue. "It just so happened we had a half-done bust of Harriet Tubman," Thompson said. "It all worked out." Van Weenan said an anonymous donor, a local woman with ties to the American south, gave a substantial amount to pay for the materials, a base and a black granite pedestal being provided at a discount by Kirkpatrick Monuments. "What Frank and the donors have done is amazing," she said. "Wonderful, generous people in this city, and when they see a need, they filled it." Rekrut figures he's spent about 60 hours of his off-time working on the sculpture, explaining it was somewhat difficult to create a three-dimensional work basing it on a single flat photo. "You just keep working on it until she tells you you're done, and then you're done," he said. Once the clay model is finished, it will be covered in a rubber molding, which will be carefully peeled off to retain the shape and filled with cement. The aim is to have the bust installed by the end of April.Van Weenan said an agreement has been worked out between the billboard company and the city to take them away from the church, so they no longer block the view from the north. The billboards will be placed elsewhere in the city.
Figurativas En Red 2013 Exhibition
'Fate', lifesize - gesso'Fate', sculpture by Franco Rekrut, has been selected to be shown at the Exhibition in Barcelona, Spain at the Museo Europeu d'Art Modern. We extend our thanks to MEAM for hosting this wonderful competition and to the judges...
The International Slow Food Movement
Laura is currently painting a series of food still life paintings and portraits of people from around the world in traditional dress who came recently to represent their countries for the Slow Food Exposition - Salone del Gusto / Terre Madre in Torino, Italy. Living in Italy has shown Laura and Frank a very different way of life from that which they had experienced in North America. The approach to both daily life and especially food is one that sparked their interest in The International Slow Food Movement that first began here in Italy with its founder Carlo Petrini. The more they learned the more it seemed that through their art there was an opportunity to share their observations with others and to make others aware of the importance of this organization and an approach to food and to living that is sure to impact future generations. The beginning work for this project may be viewed at slowfoodart.blogspot.com
Harriet will soon be finished in clay and will then be on her way to the foundry to be cast in bronze for the Niagara District School Board for the Harriet Tubman Public School.
Photo credit: DORIN VASILESCU
Now in the permanent collection of MEAM
(Museo Europeu d'Art Modern)
From Laura: "I have been lucky to have had encouraging comments and conversations with people involved in the Slow Food movement...
"Dear Ms. Thompson,
Wow, you went right to the heart of the Slow Food movement. It has been exploding around the world and even here in Canada, there is a revolution going on in our relationship with food - I wish you every success with your efforts.
"... the art looks amazing!
xx David Rocco
International Artist Magazine 2016
Describing the process of painting a still life in the studio.
William Hamilton Merritt
William Hamilton Merritt (1793 – 1862)
Frank has recently finished a portrait of William Hamilton Merritt. Merritt (3 July 1793 – 5 July 1862) was an influential figure in the Niagara Peninsula of Upper Canada in early 19th century and one of the fathers of the Welland Canal.
A little history of Frank's family...
The street sign in Florence, Italy bearing Frank's family name.Frank's family on his mother's side (Adele Giacomini) is originally from Florence and it is interesting that there is a family history of art and sculpture that included his great grandfather. Giuseppe Giacomini was court artisan to Czar Allesandro II whose portrait he sculpted from porphyry.
This sculpture of 'St Joseph et l'enfant' is by Frank's great uncle Alessandro Giacomini. It can be found at the main altar of St Joseph's Oratory in Montreal, Quebec Canada.Frank's great uncle Alesandro Giacomini was also a sculptor and his 2.75m tall (weighing 2300kg) sculpture of 'St Joseph et l'enfant' in Carrara marble has been at the main altar of St Joseph's Oratory in Montreal, Quebec Canada since 1917.
We are pleased to have received notification that both 'Fate' and 'Ungilded' have been officially preselected for Figurativas En Red 2013...'Ungilded', oil on canvas, 60 x 90cm
Teaching students at The Florence Studio
-Academy of Fine Arts
Robert F. Kennedy Center Exhibition
Laura and Frank are both exhibiting work in a collective exhibition entitled "Diritto dell'Uomo - Rights of Mankind" at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.The sculpture portrait by Frank RekrutFrank Rekrut's sculpture and Laura Thompson's painting are both portraits of the people from Salone del Gusto 2012 and are representative of the worldwide human right to the preservation and protection of biodiversity and seed sovereignty. Their hope is that their art will invite discussion and debate surrounding the idea that the growing of food and the right to save seed should be protected as opposed to being sacrificed in the process of corporate patenting/ownership of seed and policy being unduly influenced by large industrial farming practices.
A little history of Frank...Frank began his career with making cast stone, handcrafted fireplace mantels before he began sculpting. Below is a selection of handcrafted fireplace mantels made by Frank while in Canada.
HARRIET TUBMAN in progress.
Our new teaching studio in the beautiful historic centre of Florence! Over 2000 sq ft of bright space in a wonderful palazzo!