Doors of Reflection – Island artist builds world between worlds

Doors of Reflection
Island artist builds world between worlds

By Katie Smith

As children we can spend hours a day playing make-believe in a fort made from blankets or cardboard boxes, letting our imaginations take over. Inside these magical places we are brought to a different land, removed from the outside world.

As we get older and get wrapped up in our day-to-day lives, we rarely allow ourselves the time to sit back, reflect and let our minds wander.

Island artist Monica Lacey creates installations that allow the viewers to go inside and become part of the experience.

The Bonshaw native is building such a piece for this year’s summer festival, Art in the Open, taking place in Charlottetown on August 23.

Inspired by the classic children’s series, The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, “In-Door/Out-Door” will bring people to another world, if only for a moment.


Artist Monica Lacey shows a mock-up of what will be a 10-foot structure. Photo by Monica Lacey.

The 10-foot structure will have four doors with porch lights above them and the doors all lead to a small room, with enough space for one or two people. Each person can enter and exit through any door of their choosing.

Lacey said the part of Lewis’ series that always stuck with her was when the kids travelled to the fantasy world of Narnia, they would go to a world between worlds.

“It’s this quiet place where you make decisions, and how every choice you make next changes the outcome,” she explained, saying her project is a micro-version of that idea.

“If you went out through one door, then back out the same door that changes things,” she said. “It’s kind of a metaphor about how we move through the world.”

The “In-Door/Out-Door” installation caught the interest of Pan Wendt, The Confederation Centre Art Gallery’s curator.

“I was immediately attracted to this project because of its economy, the beautiful simplicity of the idea, and the open-ended way Monica approached the idea of transformation,” he said. “I think the piece presents the viewer with an engaging question.”

This will be Lacey’s second year participating in Art in the Open, a festival she is grateful for and said is a crucial part of the Island’s art scene.

“It’s probably the most important development in the art scene in Charlottetown in years,” she said. “It’s alerting the public to the fact that there are contemporary artists living here and that it is important and it makes life a bit more magical.”

Art is as important to life as sports or music, Lacey said, adding festivals help introduce the public to different forms of art and expression.

“To me, it’s a vocabulary for understand what it means to be alive and everything that goes into that. It’s a language that we can use to describe things we can’t describe any other way. Or speak to feelings or thoughts that can’t be described any other way.

Art is for everybody, she said.

“If you don’t think you’re into art, I think maybe you just haven’t found the kind that appeals to you or the artist that speaks to you, that you identify with. You just have to keep looking.”

The public is welcome to see Lacey’s piece this summer during Art in the Open, which runs from 4 p.m. to midnight. For more information, visit

[Here’s the link to the published article – they changed the headline; I liked mine better 🙂