Welding and fabrication of the large-scale steel and aluminum pieces for the Vedder Bridge roundabout art project is well underway at a studio on Vancouver Island.
The work is being completed by State of the Art Concepts in the Cowichan Valley, owned by Challen Clark.
There’s a strong emphasis on water, Chief David Jimmie explained when the original canoe and paddle design was unveiled three years ago. Precontact the dugout canoe was always essential to Coast Salish and Stó:lō communities for both trade and transportation.
“With this particular art piece I was really hoping to demonstrate that strong connection to water,” said Jimmie when the design was unveiled in 2017.
Work on the base plates, match plates, and pole, is complete, according to folks at State of the Art Concepts studio.
Aluminium tubes for the upper ring have also been rolled. The steel posts have been welded for the paddles, and foam works are also underway.
The piece was designed co-operatively by Squiala First Nation Chief David Jimmie and Coast Salish artist Bonny Graham, in consultation with the Stó:lō Nation Chiefs Council and Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe.
The steel ring will have the Halq’eméylem words “Ey kwesé é mi” emblazoned on it in a custom font designed by Graham, which means “It’s good that you are here…welcome”.
The eight support posts will be encased in paddle shapes, with seven emblems to represent the seven Ts’elxwéyeqw communities, and the City of Chilliwack crest.
The $255,000 contract for the Vedder Bridge roundabout artwork project was awarded to State of the Art Concepts Ltd. at Chilliwack city hall in February, and the city funds have been kept in reserve from the bridge rebuilding budget, and do not represent a new cost.
READ MORE: Roundabout art project awarded
READ MORE: Partnerships at the heart of this project
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