Two identical sculptures crafted by Squamish Nation artists have been installed in Park Royal’s south plaza. |Mina Kerr-Lazenby / North Shore News

Two new sculptures created by Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) artists have been unveiled at West Vancouver’s Park Royal shopping centre.

The two identical artworks, located at the Gateway Plaza in front of the Gateway apartments on Park Royal South, were unveiled at a ceremony July 16 to a small gathering of Squamish Nation members, Park Royal staff and West Vancouver Mayor Mark Sager.

Three separate blessing ceremonies took place over the course of the afternoon, welcoming the two sculptures and two other nearby artworks – a weaving pattern on the crosswalks designed by Anjeanette Dawson, and a mural on the spiral ramp created by Siobhan Joseph – that were erected in recent weeks.

Squamish Nation drummers and singers came together for song and the installations were blessed with cedar boughs, while members of the community took to the stage to talk on the significance of the area and the meaning of the art.

Crafted from stainless steel and depicting two eagles, the two artworks are an homage to the two bald eagles that nest on the opposite side of the shopping mall, said Squamish Nation’s Aaron Williams, speaking on behalf of artists Jody and Ann Broomfield.

“They fly over this section here when they go back to their home nest, and they always come to the river down here to come and hunt.”

Eagles represent a very strong form of spirit, and bring connection between the Squamish people and their ancestors in the physical world, he said.

Williams said the installation of the sculptures was a way to honour and acknowledge the ancestry and history of the Squamish people in the area.

“We do these things to reflect the ways of our old people and the things they left behind to us, through the practices of our culture,” he said, adding how the artwork serves as a way for the Squamish to have their identity showcased so that visitors don’t forget who lives on this land.

The sculptures also protect the families that would come and go through the Gateway Plaza, he said.

“The wonderful art that you see here will honour the families that are going to be moving in here and will guide them to live in a good way,” he said.

Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

By Mina Kerr-Lazenby, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 20, 2023 at 09:56

This item reprinted with permission from   North Shore News   North Vancouver, British Columbia
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