Conversation Piece: Immense Mode

If you’ve been to Southgate Centre, chances are you’ve seen this piece.

Photography Michael Kuby

If you’ve been to Southgate Centre, you’ve seen “Immense Mode.” Or, to most of us, “the two really big legs and shoes outside the LRT station.”

Two long black-and-white striped socks protrude from two brown shoes. The sculpture was created in 2009 by Dawn Detarando and Brian McArthur using ornate custom brickwork and glass. And, at two storeys high, the legs are impossible to miss.

But what is it all supposed to mean? Well, according to the Edmonton Arts Council, the legs represent all the people who will walk on and off of buses and trains at the transit centre, or head into the mall from the ETS hub. Basically, it’s a recognition that public transit is about more than getting on a bus or on a train. It’s about being willing to walk to the stop, or from the stop to your eventual destination.

It’s also a reminder that a city needs to be walkable – slammed smack dab right next to 111th Street, which is six lanes wide when it blasts by Southgate Centre, and then on-ramps to the Whitemud.

There is indeed a bit of irony, there.


According to the artists, who combine to form a Red Deer-based collective called Voyager Art and Tile, “these 20-foot tall legs greet commuters and visitors by bus, train and car. They pay homage to the commuters and shoppers to Southgate Mall. The legs allow for a bit of imagination of a giant standing on the platform while also leading those in for a more intimate and tactile experience through the inlaid glass.”

The artists have completed a number of mosaic, clay, bronze and brick public-art commissions in their Red Deer home and throughout Alberta. They’ve made replica sofas and even giant rabbits out of their custom brickwork.


McArthur also sculpts with snow and ice, and he’s won competitions in Edmonton and in Quebec. Detarando, who moved from the United States to Canada, won a Lieutenant Governor General Emerging Artist Award in 2009.

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