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news News Wednesday, December 11, 2019 Wednesday, December 11, 2019 2:17 PM - Wednesday, December 11, 2019 2:17 PM

Look at our heart!

A sculpture worthy of our patients and families

Look at our heart!

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Canada and the Centre d’art contemporain du Québec (Quebec Centre for Contemporary Art) are proud to present Cœur d’Enfant (The Heart of Children). This work of art was dedicated in the presence of distinguished guests and officials during a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Located at the intersection of St-Jacques Street and Decarie Blvd., the sculpture stands 21 feet by 12 feet by 6 feet, and is the symbol of the love that the hospital staff and the Shriners fraternity have for children.

"Cœur d’Enfant represents the patient and family-centered care we provide every year to thousands of children. This sculpture expresses perfectly what we call the 'Shriners spirit,' which translates in the highest quality of care always offered with compassion," explained Jacques Boissonneault, executive director of the hospital.

Three years of effort leading to a great success

The adventure started in 2016, when the Quebec Centre for Contemporary Art offered to decorate the Shriners Hospitals for Children — Canada grounds with an artistic project. Part of this Montreal cultural institution’s mission is to increase the public’s interest for visual art. “Artistic projects we create are meant for all organizations, whether they are public, private or community-based. It is essential to promote the work of artists from Quebec, Canada and beyond, and show their input to contemporary life,” said Dominique Rolland, director of the Quebec Centre for Contemporary Art.

The hospital’s Arts and Memorabilia Committee, as well as its Board of Governors, were both in favor of the project. The Quebec Centre for Contemporary Art and artist Assia Zaidi simultaneously started working on the financing and creation of this piece.

The joy of generosity

A wise man once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” For Radu Popovici, M.D., nothing could be closer to the truth, as his generous donation has strongly contributed to the creation of Cœur d’Enfant. “I am a family doctor and I work at the emergency [department] of the Lakeshore General Hospital. It is obvious that children’s health and their families is very dear to my heart. I always supported the work of artists because I believe their creations are essential to our mental and physical well-being,“ explained Dr. Popovici.

For Assia Zaidi, giving new life to urban places which tend to be neutral, places that are almost “too normal,” is one of the most beautiful artistic experiences that you can live. “Transforming a space with a contemporary work of art allows us to share a message efficiently. The sculpture, like a banner, is associated to emotional and material security, love, life and joy. It speaks a universal language, all the while retaining its intrinsic mystical facet. It is this feeling of love that I wanted to share by using the heart symbol. I positioned the sculpture so that it faces Shriners Hospitals for Children — Canada in order to allow, even with a quick look, to warm the little hearts of children looking by the window when they are hospitalized. The hospital is a place where every child must receive this love coming straight from the heart, hence my representation of a heart filled with emotion,” said Assia.

The Cœur d’Enfant sculpture blends harmoniously with the western facade of the building. On this facade, a child holds a bunch of balloons in his hands and appears to be running with joy. The sculpture will light up at dusk and will be a visual reference for motorists who will always be able to find our heart!

View a video of the sculpture.