Surrey Street Banners
Find out the current and past public art street banners in City Centre.
Artist-designed street banners add colour and vibrancy to streets throughout Surrey. Banner designs are either by direct invitation or through an artist call publicized in the late summer for the following spring.
Frogs by Atheana Picha
Atheana Picha’s design was selected in consultation with Elders from the Semiahmoo, Kwantlen, and Katzie First Nations. The artist says that “frogs represent springtime and new beginnings. My teachings are that when the frogs begin singing, it is the new year and the beginning of spring.” For Picha, frogs also symbolize growth and evolution through life’s different stages and the wisdom gathered as we move through that journey.
Atheana Picha is an interdisciplinary Coast Salish artist from the Kwantlen First Nation. Picha studied Fine Arts at Langara College with a high interest in ceramics, intaglio printmaking, and wood carving. She is currently engaged in two mentorships: learning Salish wool weaving from Musqueam weaver Debra Sparrow and silver engraving with Squamish artist Aaron Nelon-Moody. Picha is the two-time recipient of the YVR Art Foundation Emerging Artist Scholarship (2017 and 2019) and has works in the collections of the Museum of Vancouver, Burnaby Art Gallery, and Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art.
Seed/Flower/Fruit/Vegetable by Nicoletta Baumeister
Seed/Flower/Fruit/Vegetable responds to both 2021 UNESCO themes: the Year of Peace and Trust and the Year of Fruit and Vegetables. Baumeister's design is built on a geometric framework of overlapping circles referred to as the “Seed of Life”. The structure of all fruits and vegetables, including their seeds and flowers, are to be found in this design. Moreover, the overlapping elements represent commonality and communication: the building blocks of trust.
Baumeister writes, “The history of mankind confirms that a major, if not sole, root cause of discord and war, is the struggle for resources…Peace can only exist if we seek it not only with our fellow humans, but also with the environment from which all resources come.” For Baumeister, peace relies on the state of our immediate and existential interconnectivity with land, water, and air. She says, “The state of peacefulness contains Trust, Safety, Openness, Calm, Balance, Rhythm, Growth, Creativity, Joy.”
Nicoletta Baumeister lives in South Surrey and has exhibited throughout the Lower Mainland. Her current work explores themes related to how we perceive reality.
Welcome Home by Ejiwa ‘Edge’ Ebenebe
Inspired by the theme “Surrey: Love Where You Live,” Ebenebe’s design depicts Red Osier Dogwood and Red Columbine plants framing the urban cityscape within the shape of a heart. The bright colours and illustrative quality of the design demonstrate a love for the whimsical visions of the fairy tales and folk stories Ebenebe grew up with.
Welcome Home asks the question: “What makes someone feel at home in a city?” For Ebenebe, it is shared identity, communal welcome, and nurturing nature. She writes: “As people go about their days, I hope that when they glance up and see this banner it can go a little way towards invoking that feeling of welcome and communal love.”
Ejiwa ‘Edge’ Ebenebe is an emerging Nigerian-Canadian artist based in B.C. Her life experience and cultural heritage weaves through her work, manifesting in fantastical, colourful worlds and ornate, ethereal figures.
This year, there were two designs selected for the public art street banners, each by a Surrey-based artist.
A City Greener by Katina Giesbrecht
A City Greener celebrates Surrey’s vibrant and varied landscapes. The clean graphics and balanced colours reflect a harmony between the natural and built environment, both of which make Surrey a great place to call home. Giesbrecht says, “Our city has a wide variety of landscapes, from farmland and parks to rows of houses, urban skylines, and breathtaking mountain views. As a long-time resident of Surrey, I appreciate that our municipal government has worked hard to plan a city that embraces growth but still maintains the characteristics that make Surrey special.”
Katina Giesbrecht is an active member of the Surrey arts community, teaching art classes and volunteering with Surrey Art Gallery Association.
Blackie Spit by Debbie Westergaard Tuepah
Blackie Spit is a detail from one of Tuepah’s paintings of the same name. It is a tribute to Surrey’s lowland floodplains: rich sources of nutrients for fish and wildlife and a beloved gateway to nature that both citizens and visitors enjoy. The artwork’s thick brushstrokes and strong sense of movement mimic water's powerful force within this intertidal zone.
The banner is also a call to action. Tuepah has seen first-hand how climate change has altered our waterways. She says, “As a child on the Fraser, eulachon runs were strong, fishing was abundant, canneries were busy, and our estuaries were healthy. This is no longer the case. Moreover, predicted sea level rise leaves low-lying coastal floodplains and communities at risk.” Blackie Spit is a call for change and to support ongoing efforts to conserve our natural landscapes and create sustainable communities.
Debbie Westergaard Tuepah is a long-time contributor to the Surrey arts scene, being one of the founding members of the curatorial collective AgentC Projects.
The Fisherman's Charm by Anthony Gabriel
Great blue herons will be keeping watch over Surrey streets late spring in an elegant and bold artwork by Anthony Gabriel. In The Fisherman’s Charm, Gabriel’s design highlights the graceful curves and long neck of the bird as it patiently waits, watches, and seeks calm waters against a bright red sun that represents the Life-Giver and Healer.
Gabriel chose to feature the great blue heron because it is a species known throughout the shared traditional lands of Semiahmoo, Kwantlen, and Katzie territories and can be seen throughout the Fraser Valley. They are known to be good omens for people venturing out to harvest salmon and other fish. Gabriel says, “I wanted these banners to share that same omen with all the people of our shared communities—a design that represents all our Nations and a reminder of the journey we are all on together.”
The design was recommended by a committee of Elders of the Katzie, Kwantlen, and Semiahmoo First Nations.
Anthony Gabriel is from the Kwantlen First Nation territory and specializes in hand-craft-engraved silver and gold jewellery.
Onward and Upward by Sandeep Johal
Responding to the theme Canada, our Home, Sandeep Johal’s winning design for City of Surrey’s 2017 Street Banners depicts the Steller’s jay, British Columbia’s official bird, and stylized versions of each province’s and territory's flower. Johal’s artwork expresses joy and optimism for Canada’s future.
She writes: “These birds represent the journey that has brought thousands of people to Canada’s shores, from the First Nations people to the early settlers to immigrants and refugees, like my parents who immigrated to Canada from India in the early 70s. Flowers come from seeds, which take root and grow. These flowers represent the heartiness of Canada’s people who have laid down roots and worked hard to build better lives for themselves and their families, my parents included.”
Sandeep Johal is an emerging Indo-Canadian artist from British Columbia.
Water Guardian by Susan Point
Point's design is based on her image of a frog used in her public artwork Water Guardians at Hazelgrove Park in Cloverdale. The frog’s traditional design symbolizes the cycle of life, small transformative beginnings, and the rhythm of the land. She has a previous public artwork in Surrey called Frogs on display at the South Surrey Recreation and Arts Centre.
Point explains her connection to frogs: "I have lived my whole life, as well as my ancestors for thousands of years before me, in a territory renowned for its abundant natural beauty including lakes, rivers, and the Salish Sea. If I am not fishing or beachcombing or watching frogs from the shoreline of a pond, I am imagining the world through the eyes of the aquatic creatures that have survived here since time immemorial. One of my favourite creatures is a frog. I've never really lost the captivation of watching them develop from tadpoles, and I don't think anyone really does . . . Frogs have always been the indicators of the changing seasons to First Nations people of the Pacific Northwest."
Susan Point is a descendant of the Musqueam people and is a distinguished local Coast Salish artist.
Cycle by Ying (Nancy) Chen
Chen's winning design is inspired by growth made possible with the abundance of clean water. Chen writes, "Water is not only a life source for animals, insects, and plants. It is also what binds us together, as a community, in our environment."
"Cycle" features two fish arranged in a composition to recall the symbol of Yin Yang - two opposing forces that give birth to harmony and coexistence. The white fish represents the idea of birth and growth and the orange fish represents the idea of maturing and aging. Together, they co-exist in a continuous circular motion within a pool of water, and are intertwined with various forms of life around them.
Ying Chen is a student in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at SFU Surrey.
Sustainable Energy by Larry Hunter
Hunter's design represents our planet's sustainable energy sources and evokes a warm, bright sense of health, nature and energy.
The bold composition includes the central, bright sun; earth's geothermal core, leaves representing the biomass and biosphere covering the planet; water and wind.
Gordon Smith Street Banners
Gordon Smith, one of Canada's most important painters, has designed banners for Surrey based on details from the painting he created for Surrey's City Centre Library, West Coast Landscape.
They celebrate another of the City's most acclaimed artists and enhance the streetscapes of Surrey.
Robert Davidson Street Banners
The design of the 2010 Surrey public art banners reflects Robert Davidson's ongoing interest in printmaking and abstraction.
Davidson has mastered traditional Haida and is innovative in the use and abstraction of these forms and his choice of bold colours.