Downtown Chilliwack Mural, Dist.1881
A great deal of change has taken place in what is now the downtown core of Chilliwack BC. In Ancestral times, oral history tells us that the area was subject to seasonal flooding, a lowland wetland, rich with flora and fauna. The development of a city center began, centered around a Sto:lo trail crossing, and those trails became 5 corners, a hub intersected by roadways that we continue to use today.
In the 1800's it was illegal to conduct ceremony for the Sto:lo, according to the new settler laws on the land. An ancestor of mine was a man who conducted sacred ceremonies in order to help and heal others, he was called upon by a Dr. who's son was suffering from Smallpox. Despite knowing the smallpox disease would run its course, my ancestor followed his teachings, and offered his service to the son of the Dr. The boy died of the disease, and my Ancestor was charged with Murder. It is documented family history, that this ancestor was hung at 5 corners, even though the Provincial records show that he was charged with murder of a different man, and hung in New Westminster.
As the new downtown core was in the planning stages, I was introduced to the developers, and talks began to address the historical traumas that may cause modern issues while constructing a new town center. The Algra Bros were open minded and conversations led to how public art in the area could provide not only insight into the history of the area, but how art could offer healing as well.
The result are 4 murals in District 1881, custom designed to feature the species that once inhabited the lowland wetlands, and one mural to honor the ancestor who was wrongfully charged for murder. Many healing moments were found while painting these murals, in solitude and while visiting friends and family who stopped in for a chat.
Yalh Yew Kw'as Hoy Telh welep
Common Merganser Mother and Ducklings
Wexes, Tree Frog
Ancestor with arms outstretched