Meet Maman, the giant spider of Ottawa

It’s impossible to remain indifferent in front of Maman (Mother). The giant bronze spider is impressive. The sculpture has stand high as a queen for 10 years on Sussex Street in Ottawa, in front of the National Gallery of Canada. Although it is a popular attraction for tourists, I think we sometimes forget that Ottawa is privileged to be home to this majestic work.

Maman in Ottawa

French-American artist Louise Bourgeois created the sculpture to pay homage to her mother. But why a spider? The link is not so far-fetched … Louise Bourgeois’s mother was a weaver (she repaired tapestries … so she wielded the thread, like the spider). According to the artist, her mother was skillful and protective, as is a spider.

More than 9 metres high, the bronze sculpture has a bronze bag under its abdomen in which there are 26 marble eggs.

Maman in Ottawa

The National Gallery of Canada acquired the sculpture 10 years ago at a cost of $ 3.2 million. At the time, this decision was criticized by some, since it was the largest purchase ever made by the museum. It is difficult today to imagine the surroundings of the National Gallery without the sculpture and its long bronze legs!

Ottawa’s Maman is not unique, however. The original Maman (made of iron) is at the Tate Museum in London. Louise Bourgeois made six other bronze replicas found all over the world (in addition to Ottawa, there are replicas in Bilbao, Spain; Tokyo, Japan; Seoul, Korea; plus two others which are exposed in various temporary exhibitions).

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