Public Sculpture

The purpose of public sculpture is to create a work of art that is on display for everyone to view. It should convey a meaning or association and be perfectly integrated within in its surroundings.


True artists understand this purpose and, when commissioned for such works, seek to create pieces that are not only site-specific, but also inclusive of the beauty of the medium being used.


Canadian bronze sculptor Brett Davis is an artist who understands each of these facets; the importance and significance of public sculpture, the beauty of the medium being used and the intrinsic value of ensuring that a work is designed to suit the specific architectural style or landscape that exists in indoor or outdoor settings. This is evident in his many public works, commissions and competition placements that are on display in North America, Europe and Asia.


When public sculpture is commissioned, it is generally by one of the following:

  • government,

  • civic groups,
  • civically-minded individuals, or
  • corporations.
The reasons behind commissioned public sculpture are numerous and often include the commemoration of famous heroes and people, battles or events, or even to represent ideals such as freedom and liberty. Monuments, memorials, and civic statuary are the oldest forms of official public art, and as such, public sculpture has a long and illustrious relationship with humanity, telling our story in a way that is beyond the verbal threshold.


Examples of commemorative public sculpture and their association include:

  • The Parthenon in Greece; remembered not only as a building and temple, but also as a work of art that spanned the ages – a reflection of the culture and knowledge of the Greek people.
  • The relatively modern Statue of Liberty (actually named Liberty Enlightening the World, or "la Liberté éclairant le monde” in the original French), symbolizing a great friendship, shared goals, and the gift of freedom.
  • The large bronze statue of R.L. Boyle in Regina, Alberta’s Central Memorial Park, acts as a cenotaph and memorial for not only the subject, but for all those Canadians who died in the Boer war.
  • The Jeté, a modern (1975) bronze in Millbank, Westminster, England exists as true art – pieces that were made for the sake of beauty.
  • The Lloydtown Rebel, commissioned to commemorate and The Rebellion of 1837 which began in Lloydtown, Ontario, Canada and eventually led to responsible government in Canada.
Sculpture intended as public art is often constructed of durable, easily-cared-for material, to avoid the worst effects of the elements. This leads most public sculptors to choose either metals (such as bronze) or hard stones (such as granite), as these materials are both visually appealing and well-aging; bronze in particular develops a beautiful patina as it is exposed to both sunlight and rain, and lends itself not only to firm, clearly delineated abstract shapes, but also to the depth required to portray still-life forms.

If you are interested in learning more about Canadian public sculpture, or having a public sculpture commissioned, visit