First Nations art installations unveiled at City Hall

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The City of Vancouver, in partnership with the three host First Nations, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh, unveiled three permanent art installations at Vancouver City Hall today. 

“First Nations art is often an expression of the history and geography of our region, and it plays a powerful role in shaping our city and its future,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “We are honoured to have these art installations displayed at City Hall, showcasing our region’s beautiful landscape and majestic scenery. Vancouver is proud to be a City of Reconciliation, and we are committed to strengthening our relationships between our indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.” 

Each Nation released a call for artists from their communities. A selection panel comprised of one representative from each Nation and a member of Vancouver City Council interviewed shortlisted artists. Collectively, they selected the three successful artists who designed and produced wall panels that depict the unique images and representations of their Nations. 

“It’s an honour to witness the unveiling of these artworks today, knowing they will inspire our journey toward reconciliation for generations to come,” says Chief Wayne Sparrow of the Musqueam Nation. “These installations will serve as an enduring reminder of the ancient and continuing Indigenous history of the City of Vancouver, situated on the unceded traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh people. 

“We want to acknowledge the City of Vancouver for recognizing the shared territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh,” says Chief Ian Campbell of the Squamish Nation. “It’s important to have a visible presence at City Hall to reaffirm our shared journey, and celebrate our commitment to reconciliation.” 

“Today is another step towards reconciliation for the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations and the City of Vancouver,” says Chief Maureen Thomas, of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. “I am proud of all our artists who continue to connect our Nation’s history to our future through their artwork, and showcase it at Vancouver City Hall.”

Selected artists

Jordan Gallie, a member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, fabricated and sandblasted a glass design attached to a cedar panel. It contains an image of a cedar rope, a wolf with its paw on Vancouver City Hall, maple leaves, mountains, and a traditional eagle. 

The images represent the Tsleil-Waututh people and their ancestors and traditional territories, the Nation’s relationship with the City of Vancouver, and a commitment to Mother Nature.

Squamish Nation artist, Jody Broomfield’s design pays homage to the majestic scenery in the Vancouver area, including the sky, land and the sea. Soaring above the mountains is a symbolic thunderbird, which honours the Squamish peoples from the past, present and future. 

Canoe pullers represent the building of relationships between the local First Nations and the City of Vancouver. The images were carved onto a custom laminated cedar panel. 

Chrystal Sparrow, a Musqueam Nation artist, used acrylic paint and red cedar to create a panel depicting a variety of images paying homage to the Musqueam people and their traditional territory.

The Salish salmon spindle whorl represents the Musqueam Nation. The mountain motifs represent the City of Vancouver with its beautiful landscape of green forests and the Salish Sea.