Introducing A Short Film Documentary On The Making Of A Statue Of A Heroine For A Niagara, Ontario School

‘Harriet Tubman’ sculpture  – a symbol of freedom that  comes to life in the hands of Canadian artist Frank Rekrut’

A Special to Niagara At Large from Florence and Timmis Studios in Florence, Italy

Posted March 16th, 2016

In 2014 Canadian artist, based in Florence, Frank Rekrut was commissioned by the District School Board of Niagara to sculpt a life-sized statue of Harriet Tubman for the new Harriet Tubman Public School.

The life-size Harriet Tubman statue, now in place at Harriet Tubman Public School in the Niagara, Ontario city of St. Catharines.

The life-size Harriet Tubman statue, now in place at Harriet Tubman Public School in the Niagara, Ontario city of St. Catharines.

The Harriet Tubman Public School is born from the unity of three public schools in St. Catherine, one of which Frank attended as a child.

Intrigued by Harriet’s story, filmmaker Dorin Vasilescu, followed the creative process of the sculpture, documenting Frank’s every move while recreating history, telling her story from an outside perspective and developing a relationship with the piece.

The images set the story in the artist’s studio, placed in the heart of Florence, showing the sculpture coming to life, from the chair Harriet is sat on to the book placed in her hands.

“I think the best part about being an artist is to develop a relationship with your piece. Whether it was positioning her hand, the title of the book, or the tilt of the head, it felt like she was talking to me.” states Frank Rekrut.

“It was fascinating to watch Frank interacting with Harriet as she came to life in his hands. The soft details of her face, the shape of her eyes, the buttons on her blouse and even her shoes were carefully planned to match the piece’s personality.” recounts Dorin Vasilescu.

Both filmmaker and artist take you on a journey to discover the creation of the sculpture from the very first moments in November 2014, to the foundry and finally to the unveiling at the Harriet Tubman Public School on February 9th, 2016.

The short documentary is a piece of history meant to inspire and give a better insight into the process of creating a sculpture from the very beginning.


The documentary, Sculpting Harriet Tubman – The creative process, can be watched online by clicking on the following link  – starting March 16th, 2016.

About Frank Rekrut

Frank Rekrut is a sculptor based in Florence, Italy. He moved to Florence in 2010 where together with his wife, painter Laura Thompson, he owns an art studio in the historic center, a place they use to create and teach. Frank Rekrut is an alumnus of The Florence Academy of Art. Most interested in exploring the human figure, Frank combines his own aesthetic with his strong academic training. His works may be found in the permanent collection of the European Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona, Spain –MEAM, but also in both public and private collections throughout Canada, USA, Italy, Holland, Germany and Spain.

About Dorin Vasilescu

Dorin Vasilescu is a portrait and editorial photographer based in Florence, Italy. He dedicated a piece of his soul to photography ever since he was a child and is the owner of Timmi Studio since 2006. His work has been published in various magazines and newspapers. Recently he finished the short documentary Sculpting Harriet Tubman – The creative process, as well as started a series of video interviews with artisans in collaboration with Lungarno Magazine.

About Florence Studio

The Florence Studio is a fine art studio located in the heart of historic Florence, Italy. It is here that classically trained artists Frank Rekrut (sculptor) and Laura Thompson (painter) enjoy creating their own original work. The Florence Studio also offers short and long holiday workshops in both painting and sculpture to students of all ages from around the world.


About Timmi Studio

Timmi Studio is a fine art custom photography studio located in Florence, Italy. The studio was born in 2006 and specializes in Portraits, Editorial, Wedding Photography, and Family Photography. Recently the studio also began the production of short documentary videos and video interviews. .

Read Niagara At Large’s post on the unveiling of the Harriett Tubman this past February, 2016 at Harriet Tubman Public School in St. Catharines, Ontario by clicking on .

NOW IT IS YOUR TURN. Niagara At Large encourages you to share your views on this post. A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who share their first and last name with them.

Visit Niagara At Large at for more news and commentary for and from the greater bi-national Niagara region.


2 responses to “Introducing A Short Film Documentary On The Making Of A Statue Of A Heroine For A Niagara, Ontario School

  1. Gail Benjafield

    This was just a lovely, illuminating film. I have been immersed in the Tubman story for decades, writing about it for local magazines, and supporting the B. M. E. church for a long time. The process of the sculpting is truly interesting.

    Thank you Doug for sharing this with us.

    An added note; I was on the St. Catharines Heritage Committee when the three schools were made surplus by the DSBN, Alexandra demolished, and the Tubman school built on the extended site at Henry Street. I would be interested in which of the three schools Rekrut went to as a child. Does anyone know?


  2. Linda McKellar

    Finally got around to watching this. Amazing the complicated art of sculpture. Such skill and devotion. I’m sure, although well deserved, Harriet never anticipated something like this! Thanks Doug.


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