Hidden in the depths of Enercare Centre’s lower level is a long quiet tunnel filled with pictograms, symbols and text. Universal Link is located in the underground link between Enercare Centre and the Allstream Centre. The mural contains fifty-five different languages or symbols reflecting some of the oldest languages/civilizations in human history. The concept and design of the mural was crafted by artist Wayne Mann and executed with the help of three other artists: Ivo Stoyonov, Marie de Sousa and Victoria Bret.
In 1997 the company Kurtz Mann Inc. was commissioned by Exhibition Place to create an art installation for a new exhibition hall that later came to be known as the National Trade Centre and today is known as the Enercare Centre. Wayne Mann’s concept saw symbols and language as the topic of an abstract composition that in itself would travel through history. Communication was the key link in the development of a strong cultural bond in early cultures. Creating symbols and later the written language as a means of communication was the universal endeavor of all peoples.
The mural is a rambling pathway of abstract composition, composed of prehistory symbols and ancient alphabetical characters. The abstract mural walls are composed of symbols taken from pottery and the interior and exterior walls of ancient dwellings and monuments. The ceiling emphasizes the written language from the earliest Sumarian tablet on through ancient times, taking examples from dwellings, tablets, seals, pottery and adornments.
Wayne Mann was born in Brantford, Ontario in 1948. He studied art at the University of Windsor in Ontario and in 1974 received his Master of Fine Arts in printmaking from Tulane University in New Orleans. From 1975 to 1979 Wayne taught visual arts and lectured at the Art Gallery of Ontario. During this time he developed his painting skills in landscape, interiors and commission portraiture, which led to an Ontario Arts Council Grant to study Pre-Raphaelite painting technique with David L. Smith in London England.
In 1980 Wayne worked part time at the CBC Scenic Art Department. The experience of working on film sets and large scale backdrops led to an interest in mural painting. That same year Wayne started an interiors’ special-painting business Kurtz Mann Inc., with Lisa Kurtz. Kurtz Mann Inc. specialized in painting and finishing techniques and materials. The firm created commissioned art, furniture and environments, executing large scale artworks in Canada, USA, Bermuda, Turkey, Portugal, Brazil and Japan. The company closed in 1999.
In 2000 Wayne began a new venture called Lining Arts Inc. Lining Arts Inc. is a multi-disciplinary artistic studio that collaborates with architects, designers and general contractors in such diverse fields as health care, hospitality and entertainment, commercial and residential projects ranging in size from a single piece of furniture to 2,600 metres square. They have worked with clients in Canada, USA, Asia, South America and Europe.
Wayne Mann on his artistic style: “Since 1980 I have been involved in custom sculpture, wall finishes, furniture and murals. Inventing special wall finishes grew out of the murals and they have expanded the palette with which I am able to work and also providing an opportunity to work with and maintain a professional staff of gifted artists with whom to collaborate. Furniture is sculpture and a painting; a painting is a surface with a special finish. In art you create a concept, image and technique (surface).”
Biography provided by Wayne Mann
Section taken from ceiling of Universal Link