Located next to the original building of what has grown into a thriving intercultural complex, the Riflessi monument at Toronto’s Columbus Centre honours the injustices endured by Italian Canadians during the WWII period - from widespread prejudice to indeterminate internment - while celebrating the spirit of optimism and progress that has made them an essential part of the Canadian story.
Embracing and renewing the Villa Colombo piazza’s powerful natural qualities and its extant memorial, Riflessi integrates a mirror finished stainless steel sculpture and a granite + marble mosaic walkway into the unique fabric of the surrounding environment. The result is an interactive artwork that invites the viewer to place themselves within the Italian Canadian story: seeing one’s reflection in the mirrored statue establishes an immediate connection between the viewer and the history embedded in the artwork.
The statue element is composed of multiple profiles that collectively represent an internee family -- father, pregnant mother, child -- emphasizing that internment was not merely the detention of individuals, but a communal trauma. The walkway in turn is a passageway representing a multitude of entwined journeys: from Italy to Canada; from freedom to detention, and detention to freedom; from so-called 'enemy aliens' to a cornerstone of modern Canada.