Aboriginal artists go global

Whenever someone walks into the Olympic Speedskating Oval in Richmond to watch speedskating events during the Winter Olympics next week, they’ll be passing by a piece of Port Alberni.

Aboriginal artists go global

Hupakwanum, Nuu-chah-nulth art piece.

Whenever someone walks into the Olympic Speedskating Oval in Richmond to watch speedskating events during the Winter Olympics next week, they’ll be passing by a piece of Port Alberni.

Artists from the Alberni Valley spent months creating a unique piece of aboriginal art that will be a showpiece on the world stage during the 2010 Winter Olympics this month — as well as for years to come.

The piece is called Hupakwanum, which means ‘treasure of the chiefs’. It is made of red cedar and sandblasted glass. Artists Rod Sayers and Tim Paul were the lead carvers, while Tom Paul and Jake Gallic also worked on the piece. Todd Robinson from Cascadia Glass did the sandblasting.

The idea behind the piece is bringing all the wealth of the chiefs of the 13 Nuu-chah-nulth nations to the world stage.

Hupakwanum “is breaking the canon of what contemporary First Nations art is viewed as,” said Kelly Foxcroft-Poirier of White Raven Consulting, which helped organize the project along with the Tseshaht First Nation under the Aboriginal Venues Program.

When First Nations people make a public piece of art, the public expects a totem pole or welcoming figures.

“This is quite a departure from that,” she said.

“It’s a contemporary, glass, lit up piece of artwork. It is based on totemic artwork, but takes it to another level,” she said.

Hupakwanum has also helped put Nuu-chah-nulth artists from the Alberni Valley on the world map.

“Looking at the capacity of our local artists to really pull off something on an international level, that’s what I’d really like people to realize: we can do this.”

Continued / 18

From / 4

The installation took place on Dec. 3, when a delegation of Nuu-chah-nulth people — including the artists — asked permission of the Musqueam people to put their artwork on Musqueam territory. The ceremony is referred to as a “protocol ceremony”.

Before Hupakwanum was boxed up to transport to Richmond, it was put to sleep during a ceremony in Port Alberni. Once it arrived at the speedskating oval and unpacked it was woken up. The protocol was a day-long ceremony involving representatives from the Hesquiaht, Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nations in the Alberni-Clayoquot region.

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Chief Cliff Atleo also attended the event.

“The protocol was because it’s not just an art piece,” Foxcroft-Poirier explained. “It’s a living thing that represents the spirits of the artists’ grandparents.”

Once the Olympic Games are over, the City of Richmond will take ownership of Hupakwanum and it will remain as a legacy to the community — and to the Nuu-chah-nulth Peoples.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

Whenever someone walks into the Olympic Speedskating Oval in Richmond to watch speedskating events during the Winter Olympics next week, they’ll be passing by a piece of Port Alberni.

Artists from the Alberni Valley spent months creating a unique piece of aboriginal art that will be a showpiece on the world stage during the 2010 Winter Olympics this month — as well as for years to come.

The piece is called Hupakwanum, which means ‘treasure of the chiefs’. It is made of red cedar and sandblasted glass. Artists Rod Sayers and Tim Paul were the lead carvers, while Tom Paul and Jake Gallic also worked on the piece. Todd Robinson from Cascadia Glass did the sandblasting.

The idea behind the piece is bringing all the wealth of the chiefs of the 13 Nuu-chah-nulth nations to the world stage.

Hupakwanum “is breaking the canon of what contemporary First Nations art is viewed as,” said Kelly Foxcroft-Poirier of White Raven Consulting, which helped organize the project along with the Tseshaht First Nation under the Aboriginal Venues Program.

When First Nations people make a public piece of art, the public expects a totem pole or welcoming figures.

“This is quite a departure from that,” she said.

“It’s a contemporary, glass, lit up piece of artwork. It is based on totemic artwork, but takes it to another level,” she said.

Hupakwanum has also helped put Nuu-chah-nulth artists from the Alberni Valley on the world map.

“Looking at the capacity of our local artists to really pull off something on an international level, that’s what I’d really like people to realize: we can do this.”

Continued / 18

From / 4

The installation took place on Dec. 3, when a delegation of Nuu-chah-nulth people — including the artists — asked permission of the Musqueam people to put their artwork on Musqueam territory. The ceremony is referred to as a “protocol ceremony”.

Before Hupakwanum was boxed up to transport to Richmond, it was put to sleep during a ceremony in Port Alberni. Once it arrived at the speedskating oval and unpacked it was woken up. The protocol was a day-long ceremony involving representatives from the Hesquiaht, Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nations in the Alberni-Clayoquot region.

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Chief Cliff Atleo also attended the event.

“The protocol was because it’s not just an art piece,” Foxcroft-Poirier explained. “It’s a living thing that represents the spirits of the artists’ grandparents.”

Once the Olympic Games are over, the City of Richmond will take ownership of Hupakwanum and it will remain as a legacy to the community — and to the Nuu-chah-nulth Peoples.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

AW Neill Elementary School in Port Alberni. (NEWS FILE PHOTO)
SD70 chooses new name for AW Neill School in Port Alberni

New name honours Nuu-chah-nulth Peoples’ connection to region

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

Ron MacDonald fields questions at a news conference in Halifax on Sept. 27, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Finding ‘comfortable’ indigenous monitor tough task in Tofino-area shooting death

Julian Jones case hampered by difficulty finding a civilian comfortable with privacy protocols

Port Alberni RCMP officer in command Insp. Eric Rochette presents longtime community policing volunteer Louie Aumair with a OIC appreciation certificate. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Port Alberni RCMP honour longtime volunteer

First responders receive support from broader community

The Dock+ is located on Harbour Road in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
PROGRESS 2021: Port Alberni’s food hub still growing a year later

The Dock hopes to open a retail store on Alberni’s busy waterfront

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read