Karen Miranda Augustine




ritualistic pop artist
  writer + videomaker

 

artwork: more galleries  +  video  +  artist statement

 

Public Commission

 

Vocalist Alysha Brilla plays my Commonwealth of Dominica piano in the Yorkville Parkette,
July 2012, for the Play Me, I'm Yours street piano project.

 

In May 2012, the Arts Committee of the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games invited me to represent Dominica in a public art project called Play Me, I'm Yours. The idea is for selected artists who are from/descended from Pan Am countries to decorate a piano so that it reflects their heritage. 41 artists have been chosen to particpate. Once completed, these pianos will be left in public spaces throughout the Greater Toronto Area from July 10th until month's end.

I took this opportunity to honour my Kalinago heritage, as my grandmother was from the reserve (Dominica is the only Caribbean island with a Kalinago "Carib" Indian reserve) and I have always been proud of their resistance against Columbus.

Commonwealth of Dominica flag

To keep things simple, I focused on the Sisserou — the Kalinago name of Dominica's endangered parrot and national bird, as found in the centre of the country's flag — and loosely developed the piano into a contemporary, Canadian version of this island's flag by adding a slight pinch of Woodlands style to the bird's rendering. It also serves as a bridge culturally as one who is Toronto-born and recognizes connections between First Nations here and indigenous people in the Caribbean and northern part of South America, from which the Kalinago originated. The names across the piano's face are the former Kalinago settlements throughout the Commonwealth of Dominica.


Day 1: Working with the good people at Robert Lowrey Piano Experts — who are fascinating in their love and knowledge of the instrument — began to prep my piano by sanding and painting the front in red enamel

Play Me, I'm Yours - piano before painted  
Play Me, I'm Yours, day one
Day 2: Added stencil of Sisserou parrot   Day 3: Added bicycle inner tube for stars
Play Me, I'm Yours - day two   Play Me, I'm Yours - day three
    Day 4: Painted and outlined stars
Play Me, I'm Yours - day three, side view   Play Me, I'm Yours - day 4

Day 5: Former Kalinago settlements in Dominica are added to the piano's front

Play Me, I'm Yours - day 5

 

Some stenciling added above the keys and finished up the chair to resemble bird's feet

Play Me, I'm Yours - final stage by Karen Miranda Augsutine

Play Me, I'm Yours

(2012) Public Installation / Mixed Media
StreetPianos.ca | Toronto2015.org

Enamel, spray paint, oil sticks and bicycle inner tube on Heintzman piano

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+ video 

+ artist statement