NAK Design Strategies, along with art consultants Public Art Management and artists Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier were selected as finalists in the competition to design the national Memorial to the Victims of Communism. NAK acted as the lead consultant and project manager on the team. Below is a description of the art concept created by the team.

Bronze stelae in the form of a gently undulating, permeable curtain, suggesting solemn movement across the landscape forms the central image of our proposal. From a distance the triangulated monoliths form a collective identity, however up close they reveal individually finished surfaces echoing the distinct stories and experiences of different groups of refugees. Their trilateral shape is suggestive of movement forward from multiple provenances and towards multiple destinations.

The work introduces a play of levels, vistas as well as the experience of a journey; the linearity of its form is tempered by two landscaped ‘harbors’ on either side. These spaces evoke a sense of arrival as well as one of refuge – held within their shelter the viewer may feel a sense of protection or belonging. This configuration allows the viewer to engage with both a sense of lostness and of belonging, of journey and of arrival, which perhaps characterizes the identity and the inner landscape of the refugee arriving in Canada.


Ottawa, Ontario, Canada