Artist Leslie Wells with his “Eight Salmon Heads” at Surrey Arts Centre, home to Surrey Art Gallery. (submitted photo: City of Surrey)

Eight works of Indigenous art commissioned for Surrey sites

Leslie Wells’ ‘Eight Salmon Heads’ among three showcased at Surrey Arts Centre

A public art initiative in Surrey aims to increase the presence of Indigenous works in city-owned buildings and public spaces.

The city’s Public Art Program has revealed the commission of eight original designs by artists from Kwantlen, Katzie and Semiahmoo First Nations. Examples were showcased at a launch event at Surrey Art Gallery on June 29, during National Indigenous History Month.

Three of the eight commissioned artworks are installed at Surrey Arts Centre, where the gallery is located. The others are featured, or will be, at Surrey Nature Centre, Guildford Library, new arenas in North Surrey and Cloverdale, on street poles and on concrete barrier walls of a bridge near Bear Creek.

With the collection, the city aims to “create opportunities for visual representations of reconciliation, and to celebrate and support the creative and cultural practices of artists on whose nations Surrey is sited.”

The cost for each art project, for digitization, fabrication and installation, ranges from $8,000 to $10,000, according to Liane Davison, city’s manager of visual and community art.

• RELATED STORY: Surrey gets serious about public art, from 2016.

On Thursday (July 5), the City of Surrey announced the completion of a public artwork by Leslie Wells called “Eight Salmon Heads” at Surrey Arts Centre.

His design, installed on program room windows, “honours the salmon valued by the coast-dwelling Semiahmoo First Nation,” according to a city release. “‘Eight Salmon Heads’ also honours the salmon that continue to spawn in Bear Creek, which runs behind the Surrey Arts Centre.”

Wells has depicted the salmon in a repeating, rotating pattern, “creating a dynamic effect as if they are swimming through a strong current. The circular movement suggests the mysterious and wondrous life cycle of these fish that migrate to sea and return to their natal streams to spawn, bringing with them vital nutrients to sustain wildlife and healthy river ecosystems.”

• RELATED STORIES:

PHOTOS: Indigenous art approved for Surrey Arts Centre, Guildford Library.

‘Good omens’ fly on Surrey streets with artist’s new banners.

The other Indigenous artworks recently installed at Surrey Arts Centre are Drew Atkins’ “Retro-Perspective” (described as “colourful artwork on the courtyard windows (that) combines Coast Salish design elements with a retro look reminiscent of 1950s wallpaper and modernist sculptures”) and “The Fisherman’s Charm,” by Anthony Gabriel (a street banner highlighting “the graceful curves and long neck of the great blue heron, considered a good omen for people venturing out to harvest salmon and other fish”).

Elsewhere in Surrey, Wes Antone’s “snəw̓eyəɬ: Nature’s Gods (Nature’s Teachers)” was unveiled in June at Surrey Nature Centre. “Comprised of 10 striking Coast Salish designs of animals on the walls and doors of (the facility), the artwork is accompanied by the lessons the animals teach us according to the Kwantlen First Nation, as well as the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ translations of the animal names,” according to a city release.

Phyllis Atkins’ “We Are All Connected to this Land,” cut from powder-coated red aluminum and attached to the concrete barrier walls of the bridge near Bear Creek, “honours the land’s natural and cultural heritage.”

“Guardian Spirits” by Trenton Pierre is described as “fabricated in white frit dots on clear glass, these mirrored designs for the windows of the North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex symbolize reconciliation in the form of a contemporary Salish dance mask and drum.”

In Cloverdale, the new arena on 64th Avenue will feature commissioned work by Roxanne Charles of Semiahmoo First Nation. The design will be revealed this fall.

On windows at Guildford Library, “Raven and the First Sunrise,” by Brandon Gabriel, “tells the First Nations story in which the raven brings sunlight to the earth.”

Other work by Gabriel was part of a recent pipeline protest. The Langley artist designed some of the anti-pipeline banners that were hung from the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge Tuesday (July 3), as protesters rappelled from the crossing, forming an “aerial blockade” to impede an oil tanker scheduled to leave the refinery.

See also: Langley artist contributes to Greenpeace pipeline protest

Established in 1998, Surrey’s Public Art Program aims to “transform the city’s landscape and its residents who live, work, and play in it. Public art has the power to grab our attention, make us stop, think, ask questions, consider a new perspective, and spark conversations.”

-With a file from Matthew Claxton



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

 

Artist Wes Antone with his artwork at Surrey Nature Centre.

Just Posted

A Surrey Mountie’s tale of reconciling her family’s history with the LGBTQ+ ‘purge’

PART TWO: Cpl. Sturko is spokeswoman of Surrey RCMP after her great uncle was ‘purged’ from the RCMP

Pollinator conservation area aims to save bees directly, and through education

Bees’ survival is challenged around the world, but action is being taken to help them in Langley

Delta mosque holds silent prayer vigil for Christchurch victims

Event emphasized the importance of acceptance, solidarity in the wake of the attack on Muslim worshippers

18 months conditional term for indecent caller

Incidents reported in Surrey, White Rock and Langley

White Rock water plant operational by month’s end

Utilities manager’s talk to Peace Arch Rotary also covers global water issues

The good, bad and the unknown of Apple’s new services

The announcements lacked some key details, such as pricing of the TV service

BREAKING: BC Ferry crashes into Langdale terminal

The Queen of Surrey is stuck on the dock, causing delays to Horseshoe Bay

5 to start your day

Fatal crash in Coquitlam, stranger climbs onto balcony and lights fire, and more

Eviction halted for B.C. woman deemed ‘too young’ for seniors’ home

Zoe Nagler, 46, had been given notice after living in the seniors complex in Comox for six years

Vancouver Island home to B.C.’s luckiest lotto store

Five million-dollar winners have bought tickets from same Port Alberni corner store

Video of ‘shocking, chilling execution’ opens B.C. murder hearing

Sentencing underway for Brandon Woody after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in Nanaimo

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

SPCA seizes 54 animals from Vernon property

Animals weren’t receiving adequate care

Most Read