Two Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) students are taking advantage of their school projects by giving the chicken statue outside the Chicken on the Way restaurant in Kensington a new wardrobe.
Josefina Rodriguez Varela and Yilu Xing said that they first came up with the idea last year but weren’t able to execute their plan until now.
“We wanted to collaborate on a project that would make people happy during their daily commute, especially during the winter,” Rodriguez Varela said. “The chicken sweater is also part of our assignments for classes this semester.
“In addition, we want people to become familiar with ACAD and the creative opportunities the school offers.”
Rodriguez Varela said the collaboration made sense because she is in a drawing and research class at school, while Xing is in a weaving class.
“I draw animals and I put clothes on them a lot, it’s kind of a hobby of mine,” Rodriguez Varela said. “It’s fun for me to make stuff, it’s beautiful for me and this is what I love to do.
“We just want to make people happy.”
Rodriguez Varela said the Chicken on the Way owners “loved the idea,” and once they had the owners’ permission, they started working on the sweater immediately.
The chicken’s sweater, made of a big and blue loom, took Xing about 12 hours to weave together. The students said they chose the colour blue because it would stand out and contrast with the chicken, making it more visible to the passing commuters.
“We thought it would just be funny to put a sweater on a chicken,” Rodriguez Varela said.
“So far, people who have seen us working on site were very friendly and asked us questions about it,” Xing said. “Some drivers passing by even gave us a thumbs up.”
READ MORE: A different kind of art exhibition
Steven Hodges, the internal engagement specialist at ACAD, said that he was “thrilled” when Rodriguez Varela approached him with the idea.
“Josefina and Yilu made the right decision to give the Chicken on the Way chicken a much-needed makeover,” Hodges said in a statement.
“I think the installation will put some smiles on commuters faces next week and during the duration of the exhibition and it will hopefully ‘drive’ people to learn more about ACAD’s hallowed halls of artistic awesomeness.”
The students officially installed the piece on Sunday, March 25 at 12 p.m. Although they don’t have a set timeline of how long the sweater will be on, they hope the chicken will show off its new look for at least a month.