The Art of the Brick Brings LEGO to Life

Photo credit: Emily Cordonier

As a child I played with them, and as a parent I step on them. We all have our own memories of growing up with LEGO – but you’ve never seen LEGO quite like this before. The Canada Science and Technology Museum is launching a new exhibition that is sure to thrill visitors young and old.

The Art of the Brick is a critically acclaimed collection of inspiring artworks made exclusively with LEGO bricks. Nathan Sawaya is the American artist behind what has been named one of CNN’s Top Ten “Global Must-See Exhibitions.” The exhibit has visited over 100 cities in six different continents, but it is the first time it has ever come to Ottawa.

The Art of the Brick is the world’s largest display of LEGO art. It is a painstakingly crafted display, made all the more incredible when you learn of the path artist Nathan Sawaya took just to get to where he is today. Previously a New York City corporate lawyer, Sawaya left his practice to pursue his passion of creating LEGO art. Sawaya says that when he first decided to leave his career in law he received “a lot of negativity.” Many people thought he was crazy and warned him he was making a mistake. He also had a difficult time trying to convey to people exactly what he was doing – and that this wasn’t simply playing with toys, it was art.

“When I first started telling people I was making art out of Lego bricks I got some interesting looks, because I think when they though “Lego art”, they immediately thought about what is in a toy store – small trucks and little cars. And I wanted to take it into a new space and put some emotion into the sculptures.” Nathan Sawaya, artist.

While the LEGO bricks are familiar, visitors to the exhibit will be awed by the emotion that comes through Sawaya’s contemporary art.  Each sculpture is unique and meticulously thought out. The exhibition features original pieces as well as re-imagined versions of the world’s most famous art masterpieces like Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

“I’ve taken them on as a challenge to see what they would look like in Lego brick. And, part of the thinking behind that is, when I create these worlds out of Lego, it kind of opens the door to talk to folks about works of art from history, who might not normally be into works of art. It kind of opens the door to young kids to the art world, because it uses a medium they’re familiar with.”

The Canada Science and Technology Museum is putting its own stamp on The Art of the Brick exhibit through the creation of ‘The Block Party’ interactive build space. After touring through the art pieces, visitors, especially those with children will want to stop at ‘The Block Party’ and get a chance to use their imagination and get hands on with LEGO.

“The exhibition is more of an artistic installation and our recipe here at Science and Tech is to inject interactivity as much as we can. You are so inspired as you go through the space, you’ve seen 80 amazing sculptures and you just want to jump on a box of Legos and start creating.” Annie Jacques, Canada Science and Technology Museum.

The Art of the Brick opens on Wednesday, May 16 and will run until September 3, 2018. Admission to the exhibit and museum together costs $22 for adults, $18 for seniors and $15 for youth.