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Ghost Pyramids of the Prairies
screen print, work on paper, Egyptian pyramid, Prairie grain elevator, obsolete, icon, limited palette, Saskatchewan seventy-fifth anniversary, exotic, satire, whimsical, juxtaposition, symbol, prairie culture, architectural, monument, culture, longevity, horizon line, change, negative space, skyline, time, Egyptian pyramids, wheat field, prairie elevators, prairie skyline, screenprint, silkscreen print, history, icons, culture,
description

In this print, Didur places two Egyptian pyramids on a flat prairie wheat field. Drawn within the grey form of the pyramids is the image of prairie grain elevators surrounded by trees and vegetation. Unlike the Egyptian pyramids which have lasted the test of time for centuries, the prairie elevators are now relatively obsolete and virtually removed from the prairie skyline.

Didur’s  juxtapositionCombining two or more objects that don’t usually go together to cause the viewer to consider both objects differently.  of the two icons of civilizations makes us wonder about the importance of our history and our ancestors who have gone before. Are newer, better and faster the most important factors in our development as a culture?

Ghost Pyramids of the Prairies was one of a number of images developed in 1979 for Saskatchewan's seventy-fifth anniversary in 1980.The silkscreen prints are still hanging in many Saskatchewan schools and public buildings.

additional resources Ghost Pyramids of the Prairies
Duration: 2:07 min
Size: 8966kb
How He Got His Start as a Painter
Duration: 3:09 min
Size: 13645kb
Influence of David Thauberger
Duration: 1:27 min
Size: 6317kb
Trojan Sentinel
Duration: 1:37 min
Size: 6808kb
Why He Quit Painting
Duration: 2:44 min
Size: 11868kb
Things to Think About
Pyramid Grain Elevator
  • Research to learn more about ancient Egyptian art and culture. What differences exist between Egypt and Saskatchewan that could affect architectural longevity? Will we continue to have lasting monuments to Saskatchewan's past or will we continually tear down the old to make way for the new?
  • Why would an artist choose to make silkscreen prints of this image, Ghost Pyramids of the Prairies?
  • What would make him want to quit his art-making practice? Have you or anyone you know renounced an activity in which you were involved? What were your reasons? Listen to Didur’s interview to learn more about him.
Studio Activity

Change

In Ghost Pyramids of the Prairies, Jerry Didur creates an image of a  symbolVisual image that represents something else.  of prairie life that has all but disappeared today.

  • Is something in your community changing or disappearing, like the prairie grain elevators?
  • Is there anything you can do to stop this change?
  • Create an image to communicate how you feel about this object and its demise.

Ancient civilizations

  • Find out about an ancient civilization and learn about this civilization's cultural past.

Architecture

  • Observe architecture in your community and research architectural terms and styles.
  • Compare what you observe in your own community to famous architecture from around the world.  Are there any similarities?
  • Look for geometric shapes in the architecture.
  • Learn about cubes and tetrahedrons and build architectural forms using geometric shapes.
  • Some other possible methods and materials are cutting and pasting cardboard, or stringing and knotting straws.
References

Saskatchewan Arts Board. Jerry Didur. Retrieved from the internet on January 21, 2008 at http://www.artsboard.sk.ca/showcase/FromFartoNear/FFtoN_3.htm.

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning