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Welcome Figures

Welcome Figures by E`yies`lek (Claude “Rocky” LaRock)

Artist: E`yies`lek (Claude “Rocky” LaRock)
Location: Katzie Elementary (6887 194A Street)
Category: Private collection
Owner: School District No 36 (Surrey)
Year Installed: 2014

About the Artwork

Carved at the school in 2014 by Sts’ailes artist E`yies`lek (Claude “Rocky” LaRock), these sculptures act as both warm greeters and protectors of the Katzie Elementary children.

The eagle on the left is a guide and protector who watches over the children’s young spirits as they learn and grow. The artist explains that “as the children enter the school, the eagle pulls away any negativity they may have around them, acting like medicine, allowing them to be free of evil and enjoy their place of learning.”

The female sculpture on the right also represents a guiding figure in the form of a grandmother. In this case, the sculpture stands in for a particular person: Cookie Pierre of the Katzie First Nation, who has created a mural at the school. Traditionally, grandparents serve the important role of spotting the gifts of young people, helping them to hone their skills, and ensuring that children fulfill their destinies as hunters, cooks, artists, and more.

About the Artist

Claude “Rocky” LaRock was born 1958 in Seattle, Washington. At twelve years of age, Rocky moved to his Mother's Coast Salish homeland of Sts'ailes, located in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia.

For four decades, Rocky has created for galleries, businesses, and private collections. He teaches First Nations culture and art in many institutions such as the First Nations Correctional Facility, the University of the Fraser Valley, and the community Sts'ailes school.