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City installs first of three new Placemaker Program public artworks

For immediate release: September 24, 2020 - 3:32pm

The City is pleased to announce the first of three public art sculptures has been installed in the Riversdale Business Improvement District (BID) as part of the 2020 Placemaker Program.

“Saadat Qalbi/Miyawâtam 1, 2, and 3” by Ruth Cuthand and Suada Jailan, curated by Dr. Jen Budney, consists of three hand-painted aluminum sculptures composed of floral motives inspired by both Cree/Michif beadwork and traditional East African henna design. The title, “Saadat Qalbi/Miyawâtam” translates to “Happiness of the heart/They are joyful or fun-loving.”

Each sculpture will be located in a different BID:

  • “Saadat Qalbi/Miyawâtam 1” will be installed in the Broadway BID at Main Street and Broadway Avenue in summer 2021
  • “Saadat Qalbi/Miyawâtam 2” is currently on view in the Riversdale BID at 602 20th Street West
  • “Saadat Qalbi/Miyawâtam 3” will be installed in the Downtown BID at 241 2nd  Avenue South at the end of September/early October 2020

The artists created these artworks to acknowledge the importance of floral imagery in cultures throughout the world and celebrate the labour of women in social reproduction, which is the teaching, care work and nurturing done to keep communities and societies cohesive and strong. They are also pointing to the possibilities for innovation through collaboration and cultural cross-pollination in Saskatoon.

The City, in consultation with the BIDs, manages the Placemaker Program to add significance to civic spaces through temporary public art. These temporary exhibits transform public spaces and engage with audiences to promote an appreciation for contemporary art practices.

For more information on the Placemaker Program, visit

Project Curation
Saskatoon-based curator, Dr. Jen Budney, was selected from a group of highly qualified applicants and awarded the first ever curatorial contract for the Placemaker Program in 2019. Dr. Budney envisioned a project involving professional artists collaborating with community members to create artworks that are truly reflective of the place that is Saskatoon. She met with leaders from the Broadway, Downtown and Riversdale BIDs and listened to their desire to have public art that was colourful, would make people smile in the winter, and would tie the three business districts together.

Artists Ruth Cuthand and Suada Jailan
Ruth Cuthand, winner of a 2020 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts – Canada’s highest honour for an artist – first agreed to take part in the project. Working with the Open Door Society, Dr. Budney paired Ms. Cuthand with master henna artist Suada Jailan. Ms. Cuthand was born in Saskatchewan and is of Plains Cree, Scottish and Irish ancestry. Ms. Jailan is Barawa, from Somalia, and grew up as a refugee in Kenya. Both artists currently reside in Saskatoon.

These joyful and colourful pieces were created with the design, fabrication and preparatory assistance of Saskatoon architect and designer, Henry Lau. The metal was fabricated at the Riverbend Hutterite metal shop near Waldheim, Saskatchewan, and was welded together by Ryan Gross.