The unveiling of new artwork on a bridge in Newton involved a private blessing ceremony with members of Kwantlen First Nation on Tuesday (June 11).
The blessing ceremony was attended by Kwantlen First Nation Chief Marilyn Gabriel and elders, artist Atkins and her family, members of the Kwantlen nation, city councillors and staff, and representatives of Brenco Industries, the company that fabricated the artwork.
The project is part of a series of initiatives by the City of Surrey “to include visual representations of reconciliation on civic facilities and infrastructure,” according to a news release.
Atkins’s other public artworks in Surrey include Paddling through the Waves of Change and Returning to the River, with The Rivers That Connect Us to be installed outside the Museum of Surrey later this year. She has a website at springsalmonstudio.com and operates a studio in Fort Langley.
“From salmon to four-legged animals to winged creatures, I wanted to show how we are all connected to this land,” Atkins says of We Are All Connected to This Land, the design of which was recommended by a committee of Elders of the Katzie, Kwantlen, and Semiahmoo First Nations.
Established in 1998, Surrey’s Public Art Program “contributes to the creation of a lively, beautiful, inclusive, and complete community,” according to a post at surrey.ca/publicart.