All Our Relations
This Coast Salish carving by Xwalacktun was made with Guildford Park Secondary students and staff.
Artist: Xwalacktun (Rick Harry)
Location: Guildford Park Secondary (10707 146 Street)
Category: Private collection
Owner: School District No 36 (Surrey)
Year Installed: 1998
As this artwork is in a high school, please check in at reception first.
About All Our Relations
Made from old grove yellow cedar wood, this Coast Salish carving was created on site in collaboration with Guildford Park Secondary students and staff. It hangs in the school’s library and measures 3 metres wide and 1.5 metres high. The artist used copper, a sign of wealth, for the animals’ eyes to distinguish them from the wood. The green wash on the background represents the oxidization of copper.
Xwalacktun worked with students to choose the animals and elements depicted:
- Male and female salmon represent plenty
- Owl represents wisdom
- Raven is a trickster
- Eagle is vision and strength
- Medicine wheel represents all other cultures from around the world, Indigenous and non-Indigenous (welcoming symbol)
- Three feathers represent mind, body, and spirit
- Bear paw is the artist’s signature
Xwalacktun arranged the different elements in an organic shape so that the viewer’s eye is drawn to read it in a circular pattern.
About the Artist
Xwalacktun (Rick Harry) is a Coast Salish artist of Squamish and Kwakwak’wakw ancestry. He creates Native art with a connection to the past, present, and future like his ancestors. A sought-after artist, Xwalacktun has received commissions from BC Hydro, University of Victoria First People’s House, 2010 Winter Olympics, and the Audain Art Museum in Whistler. He is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Order of British Columbia and the Queens Diamond Jubilee.