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October 2013, vol 8, no 3

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Edward Zuk

All Art Is Quite Useless

A friend from Romania once said to me: "When I first came to Canada, I fell into a depression because of the ugliness of your cities. In my country every boulevard has its fountain, and statues and gardens litter the streets. We have a saying: 'You can't throw a stone without breaking the window of a church.' And the churches are not boxes made out of wood and stucco. They are built with true stone, and the windows are stained glass. Everywhere I looked, I saw history, I saw beauty, I saw God. Then I came here and was surrounded by this" – she waved her arm at a strip mall looming behind a gas station – "and I thought that there were no fine things left in life. I cried myself to sleep at night. But now I am used to Canada, and this lack of beauty no longer bothers me. I ask myself, 'Why do we need beautiful things? If something works, if people can use it, isn't that enough?'"

I had no reply for her at the time.

Twining among
the salmonberry thorns –
morning glories