First Nations Art at Vancouver International Airport
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The next time you come to Vancouver International Airport take some time to enjoy the spectacular art collection. Did you know that it is home to over 200 works of native art. The YVR Art Foundation curates an impressive collection and also supports young British Columbia First Nations artists with scholarships and airport displays.
YVR is located on Musqueam First Nations traditional land and one of the first displays installed was a Musqueam Welcome Area. Located in the International terminal, visitors are greeted by two red cedar Welcome Figures inspired by Coast Salish house posts by artist Susan Point. Traditional images of the eagle and men with salmon motifs depict the theme of flight on the world’s largest Spindle Whorl that is mounted on a cascading waterfall. Look up at Out of Silence, four traditional woven blankets with vibrantly crafted patterns,
Many who have travelled through YVR will be familiar with the monumental Bill Reid sculpture, The Spirit of Haida Gwaii. This six-ton bronze sculpture is finished with a jade-green patina and was inspired by the miniature carved canoes found in Haida Gwaii in the nineteenth-century. The forms on the canoe depict creatures from the legends of Haida entangled together with the raven at the bow. The Great Wave by Lutz Haugschild is made up of thousands of strips of float glass that relate to the sculpture as a symbolic ocean and coastline.
The collection continues to expand. In 2016, four new cedar sculptures by Reg Davidson were added telling the Haida stories of the Raven who is believed to be responsible for creating the islands of Haida Gwaii and plays a mischievous role in many stories with a lesson. Raven Steals the Moon, a bentwood box for the collection, references the creation myth where Raven steals the moon out of a great Chief's bentwood box and gives it to the Haida people.
A stroll through pre and post security areas at YVR will reveal a variety of bold and beautiful works that welcome and bid farewell to travellers. Each piece tells a story about the first people of British Columbia and the land, sea, sky and creatures that are central to this place. For a detailed explanation of these installations visit yvr.ca.