The following article by Alex Browne first appeared in the Peace Arch News on October 9, 2015. Photo is by Even Seal. You can view the original post here.
South Surrey artist Don Li-Leger’s Encyclopedia House art installation in The Grove in Newton formally opened last Friday.
Surrounded by a small, appreciative crowd, Li-Leger cut the yellow tape across the doorway to the one-room structure – created out of discarded encyclopedias and other texts – as his wife, Cora Li-Leger, offered the toast, “let the knowledge flow.”
The temporary structure is to remain at the site for the rest of the month.
Li-Leger, who created the installation as a commentary on homelessness – while society finds difficulty recycling obsolete books – said he could not claim originality for his project. He told his audience he was inspired by the work of a Japanese architect in creating a “zero-yen house” to promote a Buddhist lifestyle of “living very simply.”
Cora Li-Leger said a “perfect storm” of factors – including co-operation from city officials (after initial red tape) and support from Sources Community Resource Society and the Friends of the Grove organization – combined to make her husband’s long-cherished project a reality.
Coun. Vera LeFranc and Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains both noted how combined artistic expression and community intervention bring greater awareness to homelessness, while Sources executive director David Young noted the 10th annual Homelessness Awareness March takes place Oct. 16 at Newton Resources Centre at 10:30 a.m.
Li-Leger told Peace Arch News the appropriateness of the site had become increasingly apparent as the house was put together last week.
“People in the neighborhood are dealing with issues we don’t see in South Surrey – a lot of people who came by got engaged with the intent of the project,” he said.