Victor Cicansky - On the Root Cellar

Now the root cellar is well, what it is basically is, is a hole that you dig in the ground and cover over somehow to store your vegetables. In houses in the east end of Regina, the roots cellars were always under the kitchen floor, and there was a trap door in the kitchen floor and you’d go through the trap door down the set of stairs into the root cellar to bring up the fruits and the vegetables that you would store down there. And I remember as a kid watching my parents go down and disappearing through this hole in the floor and then coming up with a cabbage or some potatoes or a jar of pickles, and that fascinated me. And of course years later it became a sculpture that’s now in the MacKenzie collection, a piece called the Root Cellar. So, those memories from my early experience of growing up in Regina, and my experience with gardening, and the root cellar were to have kind of a profound effect on me as a sculptor. And part of the idea behind the root cellar, is that not only [that] vegetables come from the garden, but [that] the earth is also our mother, or mother earth, which is an old idea, but that the earth gives us life, the earth sustains us, we didn’t fall on this planet from Mars. We’re from here…we’re part of the web of life that exists here. If we can seduce people into realizing what an amazing, magnificent place this is, that this planet is is a gift to life, that we’re part of it, that we can make a difference. If we can seduce people into believing that and treating it as a sacred place, as earlier cultures, we can actually learn a lot I think from earlier cultures, where everything was sacred, like a stone was sacred, a tree was sacred. Often I think we discard those ideas as being primitive, and we go out and we mine the earth, and we tear it up, and we take out the gold, and we pump out the oil, and we cut down the trees. Those things are there and they can be used in a sustainable way I’m sure, but to treat things with the respect they deserve, by golly, this is the only place where these things actually grow in this incredible and vast universe, and that we should look after them, and looking after the earth we really look after ourselves.

Duration: 2:47 min
Size: 4830kb

Other Videos About This Artist

On the Root CellarOn the Connection Between Art and GardensOn Why He Uses Vegetables in His ArtOn Why He Works with ClayOn the Technical Side of ArtInterview with Timothy Long - Funk Art and the Regina Clay Movement
Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning