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Long-awaited Shore to Shore sculpture to be unveiled in Stanley Park April 25

Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 1:42pm

In Shore to Shore: The Art of Ts’uts’umutl Luke Marston, journalist Suzanne Fournier tells the story of one of the first pieces of Coast Salish art to be installed in Stanley Park and the artist who created it. The sculpture—titled Shore to Shore—will be unveiled this weekend. It depicts three figures of huge importance in the history of coastal British Columbia: Portuguese Joe Silvey, one of the province's most colourful pioneers; Khaltinaht, a noblewoman from the Musqueam and Squamish First Nations and Silvey’s first wife; and Kwatleematt (Lucy), a Sechelt First Nation matriarch and Silvey’s second wife.

The unveiling will take place at 2 pm April 25 at Brockton Point in Stanley Park. The artist, Ts’uts’umutl Luke Marston (a descendant of Joe Silvey and Kwatleematt) will be joined by First Nations, the Portuguese Community, BC Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon, City of Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and councillors, Parks Board chair John Coupar and members of Marston’s extended family. The Shore to Shore book (Harbour Publishing, $26.95), will be on sale at the unveiling. A limited edition hardcover edition in a red silk slipcase (signed by the author and the artist) will also be available, as will limited edition Marston's prints of his design for the sculpture's base.

The Shore to Shore sculpture was conceived out of a need to honour Marston's Portuguese and First Nations ancestry and family history in Stanley Park. In it, Joe Silvey, Khatlinaht and Kwatleematt are surrounded by the tools of their trade: a seine net (Silvey was the first to take out a seine fishery license in BC); fishing net needles; a short throw net; and a whaling harpoon. Silvey is holding a spring salmon by the gills, representing the industry that allowed the family to thrive. The trio stands under a cod lure, which was used by First Nations. Each of the three fins of the lure is carved with the symbols and crests that represent the three figures.

In telling the story of this monumental sculpture and Marston's art, Suzanne Fournier combines interviews, research and creative non-fiction narration. She recounts Marston’s career, from his early beginnings carving totems for the public at the Royal BC Museum, to his study under Haida artist Robert Davidson and jewellery master Valentin Yotkov, to his visits to both his ancestral homes: Reid Island and the Portuguese Azores island of Pico—journeys which provided inspiration for the Shore to Shore statue. She also outlines the significance of the statue itself, and in doing so weaves together a rich and fascinating history.

The City of Vancouver recently recognized the significance of the Shore to Shore project as a symbol of reconciliation with the First Nations — the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh — for whom Stanley Park and much of the city form part of their traditional territories. As part of that recognition the city has donated $20,000 from its reconciliation initiative to the project, while the Parks Board has donated $5,000. As a spectacular addition to the inventory of Vancouver’s public art, Shore to Shore results from generous support from Heritage Canada (Canadian Legacy Fund), the Portuguese Community and Government, First Nations and from Marston’s extended Silvey family.

The sculpture is expected to become a major attraction for the 9.5 million visitors who visit Stanley Park each year. Marston carved the Shore to Shore sculpture in yellow cedar, then had it cast in bronze. The sculpture sits on a stunning base designed by Marston made of seven tons of black and white mosaic stone imported from Portugal with the support of both the Portuguese government and the Regional Government of the Azores. The stones were installed by a stone mason flown in from the Azores. Costs of construction and installation of the base were provided by Avante Concrete and Fil Jorge.

Marston, a highly-accomplished Coast Salish carver and member of the Stz’uminus First Nation on Vancouver Island, is one of the hundreds of descendants of the mixed Coast Salish and Portuguese communities whose contributions have left a lasting legacy for the province of British Columbia.