Originally known as Koilos, the amazing sculpture by artist Michael Christian has finally found its ‘forever home.’ It has traveled extensively, and has been known by other names along the way, but it finally seems to have discovered the place and name that suit it.
Like Frankenstein’s monster, Koilos looks to be composed of a variety of parts. Its tentacled head resembles the sundew – a carnivorous plant native to the Ontario bogs where cranberries grow.
Its body is roughly humanoid, but with proportions that challenge bipedal locomotion. As if to prove the point, Koilos crouches in a manner similar to the frogs found here. Indeed, the monster’s hands are somewhat webbed.
So, like Frankenstein’s monster, how are we to understand Koilos? Is it dangerous and evil or misunderstood, abandoned and unloved?
Reactions to Koilos during its travels have been mixed. While some appreciated the sculpture, many saw it as a “frightful eyesore.” With names like ‘beast’ and ‘monster,’ it appears Koilos is seen not only as grotesque but also dangerous. And yet, Koilos has harmed no one.
We adopted Koilos because it reflects the scary beauty we often see in nature. As cranberry growers, we are stewards of many creatures perceived as ugly or threatening – hog nosed snakes, snapping turtles, frogs, rattlesnakes and carnivorous plants – to name a few. To us, they belong here and are an important part of our ecosystem.
The Travels of Koilos
Koilos was created for the 2007 Burning Man Festival.
The Burning Man is week long event held at the end of summer in the Black Rock Desert near Reno, Nevada. Attendees explore various aspects of artistic self-expression, many of which are large scale art installations. Adherence to the theme and interactivity are important criteria for art displays. The 2007 Burning Man theme was The Green Man.
The Distillery District
After Burning Man, Koilos traveled to the Distillery District in Toronto where it resided until 2013.
Fun connection: The Distillery District’s historic buildings were once the home of Gooderham & Worts Distillery. The paternal grandmother of one of our principles was a Gooderham and was an important part of establishing our winery.
Beast of Baxter Island
After the Distillery District, Koilos moved to an island on Lake Muskoka. As the “Beast of Baxter Island,” the sculpture had a polarizing effect so, in 2018, it was relocated to the ‘Mystery Diner’ in downtown Bala. There, it was renamed the ‘Bala Bog Monster.’
Bala Bog Monster
We adopted the Bala Bog Monster from ‘Muskoka Mike,’ believing that its travels had finally brought it home. Its resembles other creatures found here on the bog and, with 350 acres, it has lots of room to roam. Right now, it seems to prefer to hang out near the edge of the woods, overlooking our south marsh. Like all the other creatures that belong here, we look forward to fostering acceptance and understanding as we share it with interested visitors for years to come.