When developer Wadih Fares announced an international competition to create a public art piece in downtown Halifax he said he was rooting for a local artist to win.
On Friday he got his wish. Dartmouth artist Alexander (Sandy) Graham beat out two other finalists from the United States to win the competition.
His design of several 10-foot tall lighthouses will go in front of the Trillium building, being built on South Park Street just off Spring Garden Road.
“I’m elated,” Graham said. “I have to say I’m very surprised.”
Judges didn’t know they were picking a local finalist when they selected Graham’s piece from the 37 anonymous entries. Even as it came down to the final three, jury chair Frank Palermo said Graham being a local was never a factor in the decision.
“It really didn’t play into the discussion at all,” Palermo said.
“This one captured this iconic image of this area, and we’re at risk of losing lighthouses. The symbolism of it is very potent in this area. The jury felt it had much more potential in terms of enriching the public environment.”
In addition to having his piece commissioned, Graham won $5,000 plus $1,000 for being a finalist. The lighthouses are a project Graham has been working on for some time.
“The work I’ve been doing the last few years is all based on Maritime themes, iconic forms, things we identify with as Maritimers,” Graham said.