Rowing Sculpture Installed at Trent

A detail of Dead Reckoning, a sculpture by Canadian artist David Robinson that depicts a rower in a single scull. The sculpture is installed next to the Trent Athletics Centre at Trent University. Photo: David Robinson Sculpture @robinsonstudiogallery/Instagram.

13 September 2021

By Göran R Buckhorn

HTBS has previously written about statues around the world portraying famous rowers and scullers, and others sculptures depicting a rower more as an ideal athlete showing strength and health.

The latest offering of this kind is Canadian artist David Robinson’s Dead Reckoning, a sculpture installed at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. The sculpture was placed next to the Trent Athletics Centre and can be seen by students, faculty, staff, and visitors as well the rowers on the Otonabee River.

In a press release from Trent University, David Robinson said the vessel resembles the needle of a compass, while the rower “represents anyone — including students on an educational journey — determined to forge a path to their dreams.”

Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor of Trent University, said: “We wanted to mark the 50th anniversary of the Head of the Trent Regatta with something very, very special. This sculpture is a wonderful addition to the campus and a wonderful addition to the public sculpture initiative.”

Photo: David Robinson Sculpture

“This sculpture will be an icon and a beacon for those on the river,” said Sherry Booth, Trent’s associate vice president for philanthropy and alumni engagement.

Robinson said the sculpture is made of bronze, stainless steel and weathering steel.

“I am very, very grateful to have the placement of this piece in a beautiful culture that is welcoming to the work,” the artist said.

The artist and Trent University alumni and officials at the completed installation of Dead Reckoning (Monumental): Thomas Miller, Trent University president Leo Groarke, artist David Robinson, director of alumni engagement Lee Hays, Roberta Hubble, associate vice president of philanthropy and alumni engagement Sherry Booth, board chair Debra Cooper Burger and Dan Coholan. Photo: Trent University

Due to COVID-19, Trent University and Peterborough Rowing Club decided to cancel the 2020 Head of the Trent Regatta and postpone the 50th anniversary of the event until this year. The 2021 regatta is scheduled to take place on Saturday, 2 October.

According to Trent University website, the university will install a plaque next to the sculpture, detailing the artwork, the artist and honouring the donors that made this possible. On 2 October the plans are to formally celebrate the installation and the 50th anniversary of the regatta.

It was the founder of the Trent University Rowing Club, Chris Leach, who organised the first Head of the Trent Regatta in 1971. It is now North America’s largest single-day head race regatta, attracting more than 1,200 athletes from more than 50 universities and clubs in Canada and the northern USA.

The regatta is hosted and organised by the Peterborough Rowing Club and the Trent University Rowing Club. Races take place on the Trent-Severn Waterway, starting at the Parkhill Road Bridge and winding through the Trent Canal to finish five kilometres later at the university’s Symons Campus.

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