Drew Atkins’ final design for “creative enhancement” of Surrey Arts Centre’s courtyard windows with a vinyl glazing. This and two other projects were approved at Surrey council Monday night. (Photos: surrey.ca)

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

Surrey council approved the vinyl glazing projects Monday night

Three pieces of Indigenous artwork are on the horizon for two of Surrey’s civic facilities.

All three vinyl glazing projects, approved by Surrey council Monday day, are described as “creative enhancements.”

Commissioning and selecting preliminary designs were guided by recommendations from Chiefs from Kwantlen, Katie and Semiahmoo First Nations.

Following the Elders’ recommendations, the city’s public art staff worked with artists to develop final designs, including “precise line-work and colour” as well as the “transparency levels required for fabricating in vinyl.”

Brandon Gabriel from the Kwantlen First Nation has created art that will adorn windows at Guildford Library, facing 105th Avenue.

Gabriel, who is the youngest grandson of Chief Marilyn Gabriel, has had his art exhibited internationally and other commissions have included the design for the 2010 BC Summer Games medal, a sculpture for the Surrey school district and four buffalo hide drums in the City of Surrey public art collection, Four Seasons, which can be found in the Chuck Bailey rec centre.


(Brandon Gabriel’s final design for windows of Guildford Library.)

His design for Guildford Library windows is called Raven and the First Sunrise and “tells the First Nations story in which the raven brings sunlight to the earth,” according to a city report. “This important origin story is

depicted in bright colours that will glow from interior and exterior light, similar to stained glass.”

Meantime, Drew Atkins, also of the Kwantlen First Nation, will have his artwork featured in the courtyard at Surrey Arts Centre.

Atkins is traditionally trained as a carver and has apprenticed under renowned master carver Xwa-lack-tun (Rick Harry). Atkins operates the Spring Salmon Studio with his wife and fellow artist.

His artwork, entitled Retro-Perspective, features traditional Coast Salish design elements, such as the crest and circle.

Wells’ final design for windows of Surrey Arts Centre’s program room.

“A functional canoe and paddle are pictured,” a city report notes, “as well as hands raised in a sign of welcome, a 400-year-old Kwantlen feast bowl, and a wolf from a 600-year-old stone carving.

“Retro-Perspective is a reminder that we all have our own truth based on our experience and that of our ancestors.”

Leslie Wells, a Semiahmoo First Nation artist, will have his work displayed on Surrey Arts Centre program room windows.

Wells, who has apprenticed with Haida artist Robert Davidson, creates carvings, paintings, jewelry and prints.

His commissioned works include a totem pole in White Rock and a carving in the City of Surrey public art collection titled Under the Double Eagle and Elder Moon, which consists of two cedar disks carved by Wells will fellow artist and brother, Leonard Wells.

His artwork for Surrey Arts Centre is called Eight Salmon Heads and “invokes the salmon that are strongly associated with the Semiahmoo people.”

“Salmon were traditionally caught in reef nets and were the staple of the Semiahmoo First Nation’s diet,” the city report notes. “Eight Salmon Heads depicts the salmon that continue to spawn in Bear Creek, which runs behind the Surrey Arts Centre.

Now that council has given its approval, city staff will engage a professional designer, fabricator and installer to “translate the artist’s final designs into digital files suitable for printing on vinyl, and fabricate vinyl prints to be adhered to the windows.”

It’s expected the three projects will be complete before the end of the summer.

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