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

Surrey opera singer brings Mozart’s ‘Così fan tutte’ to Vancouver stage

Nancy Hasiuk-Lay has been hailed for her ‘sparkling and crystalline vocal tone’

BREAKING: Metro Vancouver mayors cancel Surrey LRT in favour of SkyTrain

TransLink will immediately suspend work on light rail

Pedestrian airlifted following South Surrey collision

Police say initial indications are the victim was crossing mid-block when he was struck

ZYTARUK: You don’t have to wear the ribbon – but look out if you don’t

Demonize and dog-pile. If you disagree with me, you are not only wrong, you are evil. The enemy…

Cloverdale students successfully petition city for school crosswalk

Safety concerns lead to petition project, new crosswalk for students and shoppers

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

Ten-year sentence for man convicted of B.C. belt-strangling death

Shayne McGenn guilty of manslaughter in 2016 death of David Delaney, 63

Roy Clark, country singer, ‘Hee Haw’ star, has died

Guitar virtuoso died because of complications from pneumonia at home in Tulsa, Okla. He was 85.

Lack of funding, culture on campus biggest barriers for Indigenous students: report

Report based on nearly 300 responses found lack of support at post-secondary schools a big concern

Tinder sex assault suspect charged; additional alleged victims sought

Vincent Noseworthy of Alberta is accused of aggravated sexual assault, unlawful confinement and more

Drug-related deaths double for B.C. youth in care, advocate says

Teens say positive connections with adults key to recovery

Children’s strawberry-flavoured medicines recalled due to faulty safety cap

Three different acetaminophen syrups part of nationwide recall

Around the BCHL: Junior A cities to host World Junior tuneup games

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the league and around the junior A world.

International students hit hard by B.C. tuition fee hikes

Campaign seeks regulatory controls be imposed on post-secondary institutions

Most Read