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Obtained from Land Lab


Neil Hadley collaborated with Artist Noel Harding on the “elevated wetlands” public art project in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The elevated wetlands were designed to intrude and locate itself, as being evident from the speed of a major traffic artery into downtown Toronto. The project consists of six polystyrene containers filled with recycled plastics acting as hydroponics planters for native plantings from the Don River Valley. Water from the polluted Don River is pumped via solar photovoltaic pumps into the sculpture, and is filtered through the planted containers, and then cascades into large ground level wetlands, returning to the river significantly cleansed. As a functioning sculpture commissioned by the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, the work draws attention to the importance of wetland ecosystems, and more importantly the rate at which they are disappearing. Subsequently, the City of Toronto has identified and designated the site as one of seven green tourism locations. [1]

The art of Noel Hard­ing “questions the relation­ship between nature and technology and man’s social and eco­logical exis­tence. Delib­erately the­atrical, often mon­u­mental in scale and incorporating new technology, [his pieces] explore the visual prop­er­ties of mate­rials seldom used to cre­ate sculp­ture. Hard­ing’s highly personal vision encompasses nat­ural ele­ments in a surpris­ing manner. The artist’s fas­cination with organic and syn­thetic systems of living allows us to expe­ri­ence nature in an unprecedented way." [2]


[1]      “Elevated Wetlands.” landLAB, June 2, 2016. https://land-lab.com/project/elevated-wetlands/.

[2]      “Noel Harding.” no.9 • Noel Harding. Accessed July 21, 2021. https://www.no9.ca/exhibitions/Noel%20Harding/harding.php.

Additional information:

“Elevated Wetlands.” Architectural Conservancy Ontario. Accessed July 21, 2021. https://www.acotoronto.ca/show_building.php?BuildingID=3548.

“The Elevated Wetlands.” Elevated Wetlands. Accessed July 21, 2021. http://www.lostrivers.ca/content/points/elevatedwetlands.html.

“The Elevated Wetlands.” Work Detail, 1997. http://ccca.concordia.ca/artists/work_detail.html?languagePref=en&mkey=5793&title=The%2BElevated%2BWetlands%2C%2B%28during%2Bconstruction%2B-%2B2%29&artist=Noel%2BHarding&link_id=204.

Elevated Wetlands. YouTube. YouTube, 2008. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0xIBfxXFCE.

Project Title: Elevated Wetlands
Artists:  Neil Hadley, Noel Harding
Year: 1997

Place: Toronto, Ontario

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