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Arts & Culture March 25, 2019

The Story Behind the ‘Drunken Lampposts’ on the Halifax Waterfront

While the list of places to love in Halifax is certainly long, the waterfront will always be close to the top. In the summertime the boardwalk is busy with visitors and locals, and you can’t help but feel caught up in the excitement and energy. It’s a great place to catch a cool breeze and a snack or drink from many of the quality vendors.

One of the best things about the Halifax waterfront is that there’s always plenty to see. Sailboats, ferries, cargo ships and naval vessels are a regular sight, as are both George’s and McNab’s islands; however, don’t think you have to turn your eyes to the water to see something interesting. From Donna Hiebert’s ‘The Wave’ at Sackville Landing, to ‘The Emigrant,’ celebrating the arrival of new Canadians from around the world, there is a lot to discover along the Halifax Waterfront.

The Wave on the Halifax Waterfront

That includes the drunken lampposts.

If you haven’t seen the series of bendy lamppost sculptures yourself, just check them out on social media! The pieces, entitled ‘Fountain’ and ‘Got Drunk, Fell Down’, are constantly popping up on Instagram feeds and social media streams.

But what’s the story behind them?

Designed by NSCAD alums Chris Hanson and Hendrika Sonnenberg, the ‘Fountain’ lamppost shoots a stream of water into the harbour, as though it was relieving itself after a big night downtown. Not far away, ‘Get Drunk, Fall Down’ features another lamppost slumped across the pier, with its concerned friend looking down.

The two displays are described as “nakedly honest portraits of unseemly behaviours that are often playing out on our own streets after dark.” Installed as a temporary display in 2013 after it appeared at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, the displays made a big impression on the city, and have become a permanent fixture on the Halifax waterfront.

For a city with one of the highest number of pubs per capita, it seems fitting that the citizens and visitors of Halifax identified so strongly with the debauchery depicted by these cheeky waterfront sculptures!

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