Why put a bronze bull in the park?

YOU ASKED:Whose idea was it to put the bronze bull at Riverside Park and why? It seems totally out of place at the park. I think it would be more appropriate at an agriculture or rodeo setting.

- Yours truly,

Bev Turner

OUR ANSWER:We've got to hand it to Oblix the bull. He's been a combined source of adoration, amusement and bewilderment ever since he landed in Riverside Park in June of 2007 - indeed, long before that.

Created by Regina artist Joe Fafard, the three-quarter-sized bull was first proposed in 2003 by Kamloops Art Gallery director Jann Bailey.

Fafard, a longtime friend and supporter of Bailey's gallery, was initially asked to create the sculpture (representing the region's ranching heritage) for installation outside the Thompson-Nicola Regional District civic building on Victoria Street, home of the gallery and regional library. Fafard's works are in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada and one of his bulls stands in front of the Toronto-Dominion Bank building on Bay Street in Toronto.

Bailey wanted City council and the TNRD to approve the project and help share the $77,000 proposed cost of the piece.

But City council wasn't exactly sold on the site. Besides, its reserve fund for public art was already depleted.

There were more developments that year, too, which would further put Oblix's future in question. That summer, devastating wildfires hit the region. By Christmas the City and TNRD were thinking a sculpture honouring firefighters was a better choice for the downtown building.

So Oblix was left in limbo.

Four years later, Fafard ended up donating the 500-pound bronze bull to the art gallery's permanent collect and an alternative highly visible public site was chosen.

Oblix has since found many fans in Riverside Park, where he occasionally sports decorations and other accoutrements and where he continues to be a source of conversation and a popular addition to many tourists' photos.

Does he seem out of place? Maybe.

But, at the same time, he seems right at home.

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