Posted by: Waheeda Harris | July 25, 2012

Image of industry

When I visit older cities, I’m always looking for the signs of a city’s past. Whether its architecture or sculpture, the city’s pride in its past is something that I try to capture with my camera.

As I wandered the downtown cultural district of Pittsburgh, there were many artistic distractions to be seen – including this piece, at the Wood Street entrance of 300 Sixth Avenue, showing a steel puddler.

The image is strong and bold, with the outline of the man that can easily be seen from a distance. The combination of yellow/orange on the gray slate gives its a modern look, despite it showing an old image.

But what I really like about this image is the fact that its integral to the city – since its a well-known fact of Pittsburgh having been built on the back of steel.

As I looked at the artwork, as commuters went in and out to connect to the subway, I thought about the industrial heritage of cities, which used to be so apparent – and although the jobs may have changed, the hard working labour of cities still exists.

I think about all those men and women who toil for cities – working in all kinds of jobs that are necessary but under the radar. Do we know what happens with infrastructure? Most of us don’t, until something doesn’t work.

So I applaud this artistic creation, for its effect on me – that art isn’t always pretty landscapes or raw emotion, but can also be a reminder of what is the backbone of our city.

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