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Originally Published On:

August 8, 2017

Originally Published By:

Haliburton Echo

Embracing Eos

Written By:

Angus Sullivan

Embracing Eos was created by Charles O’Neil in 2004.

One of the joys of life in the Highlands is waking up early on the occasional morning to enjoy the sunrise. Sitting on your porch, dock, or on your way to work in the morning, you cannot help but marvel at the beauty of the dawn as the red rays of the sun creep over the horizon. “Embracing Eos” by Charles O’Neil is a tribute to the beauty of the dawn. O’Neil’s sculpture of a 14 foot man faces east, with arms uplifted, reaching towards the horizon as if he is embracing the sunrise.

Eos was the Greek goddess of the dawn. Sister to Helios, god of the sun, Eos was said to have pulled back the curtain of dawn each day so her brother could ride the chariot of the sun across the sky. The red colours you see in the sky during the sunrise are Eos’ rosy fingers and arms as she pulls back the curtain.

Eos was cursed by Aphrodite, for having slept with Ares, to have an insatiable desire for mortal men. This curse caused Eos to abduct many handsome men such Orion, Tithonus and Cleitus. The story of the man in O’Neil’s sculpture is unclear. Is he about to fall victim to Eos’ advances, is he simply admiring Eos’ beauty or is he a past lover of Eos, left behind as her advances turned upon another.

Being a sculpture of black steel and dark wire standing removed from the main path of the sculpture forest, ‘Embracing Eos’ can be difficult to see at dusk. Some visitors have even reported that the sculpture has disappeared. However, when we check the next morning the man is there, standing on his rock looking towards the eastern sky. Who knows, perhaps he does walk the forest at night only to return each morning to greet the beautiful dawn.

The Haliburton Sculpture Forest is located in Glebe Park on 297 College Drive. This unique collection of 36 sculptures by Canadian and international artists is open to the public, dawn to dusk, for your own discovery. Free guided tours occur on Tuesdays (10:00-11:00) and Wednesdays (12:10-12:50) in July and August. You can use the sculpture forest app (download PocketSights and search for Haliburton) or visit the website to learn more about the sculptures.

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