"Unconventional in outlook and personality, Lea is a product of a post war communist Europe. Early separated from parents and family in Czechoslovakia, she possesses a remarkable spirit and unquenchable thirst for life and work. Despite drastic trials and hardships in her formative years-experiences that might have broken a less motivated person, she has been able to transcend the nightmare of her beginnings and realize her earliest ambition to become an artist. And a most promising and considerable artist she undoubtedly is."
ERICK FRIEFELD, Chairman
Ontario College of Art (Toronto, Canada)
Lea Vivot is a internationally renown artist who resides in Kleinburg, Ontario, Canada. She was born in Sumperk, Czechoslovakia and is active in sculpture, drawing and printmaking. Presently she creates in Kleinburg, New York, Acapulco and the Czech Republic.
She has studied at the Prague School of Stage Design in Czechoslovakia, the Academia di Brera in Italy, the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, and the Art Student's League in New York. Her career as an artist began in the seventies when she began working on bronze sculptures. She quickly became internationally known for her over life-size bronzes, such as the "Lover's Bench". Lea has made benches as her trademark.
Her sculptures are always full of humanity and she often depicts families, couples, mothers and children. The large scale of her work calls for the interaction with the public who naturally enjoy to occupy the same space as the bronze figures. On the benches, Lea Vivot likes to include inscribed messages by people from all walks of life. The various additions of the Secret Bench, Lost Paradise, which are found in Montreal, Toronto and New York, all have handwritten messages expressing the hopes and fears of children.
The Secret Bench of Knowledge, which is in front of the National Library of Canada, in Ottawa, bears a message of the joy and value of reading. Writers from Canada and abroad, as well as the general public have inscriptions on the bench. Lea Vivot's interest and involvement of others in her work eloquently demonstrates the importance of sculpture and its role in society. The Secret Bench of Knowledge, like all her sculptures, tells a story. She once said " knowledge belongs to all, and what is not written is forgotten."
It seems appropriate, therefore, to have The Secret Bench of Knowledge at the National Library, where published heritage is gathered and preserved for the use of Canadians and other international guests for now and in the future.