Public Artwork

Terra Incognita

Gwen Curry, Terra Incognita, 2001. © City of Surrey
Gwen Curry, Terra Incognita, 2001. © City of Surrey
Gwen Curry, Terra Incognita, 2001. © City of Surrey
Ocean Oark Library, 12854 17 avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada
Alternate title: 
Earth In Disguise
Artwork creator(s): 
Curry, Gwen
Text author(s): 
Butler Yeats, William
Installation year: 

Terra Incognita links the Ocean Park Library with its garden, bringing the garden inside and the library outside. The classical interior architecture of the building lends itself well to the large, clear panels inscribed with flora and fauna on either side of curving windows high above the patrons. The panels have an antiquated style much like old-world etchings with their black and white maps, hawk image and botanical drawings. On the exterior wall facing the garden, delicate script lettering above the windows reads, “Take down this book, and slowly read”.

Text of the artwork: 

Take down this book, and slowly read.

Text theme: 
A time for thinking and resting.
Artwork theme: 

The unknown, thought, literature


Quote from When You are Old by British poet William Butler Yeats: 


WHEN you are old and gray and full of sleep     
  And nodding by the fire, take down this book,     
  And slowly read, and dream of the soft look     
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;     
How many loved your moments of glad grace,            
  And loved your beauty with love false or true;     
  But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,     
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.     
And bending down beside the glowing bars,     
  Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled     
  And paced upon the mountains overhead,     
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

City of Surrey

Public Art : Terra Incognita

Surrey (2010).  Public Art : Terra Incognita. <> : City of Surrey