Public Art Registry
People Amongst the People
Photo: City of Vancouver
People Amongst the People - photo by Coast Salish Arts
People Amongst the People - photo by Coast Salish Arts
People Amongst the People - photo by City of Vancouver
People Amongst the People - photo by Coast Salish Arts
People Amongst the People - photo by Coast Salish Arts
Stanley Park
Brockton Point Totem site
Three locations within a system of converging paths and mounds.
Civic
2008
Wood
Gateway
In place
City of Vancouver
Description of work

These three beautifully carved red cedar portals are constructed to represent the traditional slant-roof style of Coast Salish architecture with carved welcome figures in the doorways. They are intended as a gesture of welcome to the traditional lands of the Coast Salish people of the area. The artworks reflect the history of these aboriginal people as well as the modern culture that still thrives. Three years in the making, the artworks were developed through collaboration with Coast Salish Arts; Vancouver Storyscapes (a City of Vancouver Social Planning project to encourage aboriginal people to share their stories through a variety of media); the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations; and the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.

Artist statement
Drawing on Coast Salish design elements, People Amongst the People’s three portals represent: 1) Male and Female Welcome Figures - Framing the view at the east entrance to the site, these two upright figures greet visitors in a traditional Coast Salish gesture of welcome. Both figures wear Salish blankets incorporating weaving designs and a salmon motif. On the reverse side, the male has traditional design elements and the female has a motif influenced by Salish berry basket designs. 2) Grandparents and Grandchildren Honoured - On the upright poles located southwest of the path an intertwined braid of hair links the three female faces of the grandparents pole, illustrating the powerful matrilineal ancestry of the Coast Salish. The abstract design on the back represents the salmon, once so plentiful in the area. The grandchildren pole pays tribute to the importance of the family bond. On the reverse side, a carved herring design reflects the living culture in the area as it has been transformed through history. 3) Salish Dancer and Killer Whale - Visible from the seawall and park drive north, the third portal articulates the evolution of Salish design. A Coast Salish Dancer shows a human figure holding a sea serpent rattle and above it, the Thunderbird, the most powerful of all spirits and a symbol of protection. On the opposite face of the Dancer, tree roots connect us to the land, sea and sky. The Killer Whale upright depicts five whales, each with a raven fin and salmon pectoral, representing the close link between humans and orcas. The Salish believe that when great chiefs die, they become killer whales. The crossbeam is carved with a Salish textile motif.
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