XWEMELTCH'STN

Xwemelch’stn - Fast moving water of fish (2019) James Harry

Xwemelch’stn - Fast moving water of fish (2019) James Harry

X̱wemeltch’stn - Fast moving water of fish

The story of place begins with the Capilano river. The riverbanks of British Columbia have always been home to Coast Salish people. We formulated our lives around rivers and Oceans. The salmon that swam up X̱wemelch'stn were of the utmost importance; its richness of nutrients and abundance in numbers fed our people for thousands of years. X̱wemelch'stn (Capilano River) has ancient origins and has been an integral part of the Squamish peoples lives since time immemorial.

Xwemelch’stn - Fast moving water of fish (2019) James Harry

Xwemelch’stn - Fast moving water of fish (2019) James Harry

C O N C E P T 

We as the Squamish people have always shared an interconnection with the land, animals and water. The life cycle of the salmon mimics the lifespan of the river. Everything around this cycle continues to shrink; the salmon, trees, and water. This piece serves as a reminder to protect and give back to the life that the land has given for thousands of years.

Part of my job as the artist is to take my teachings and pass down the stories from our elders. This work is a symbol of the resurgence of Salish art and the reclamation of space. As we move into the future our art will continue to evolve and grow, my goal is to integrate our culture into the proudest segments of our society.

Xwemelch’stn - Fast moving water of fish (2019) James Harry

Xwemelch’stn - Fast moving water of fish (2019) James Harry

THE SCULPTURE

This work mimics the shape of the cedars and firs that once occupied this land. Old growth trees are becoming increasingly difficult to acquire for carving, which led me to use metal as an alternative material to cedar. Through my years at Emily Carr I integrated this concept into my art practice and it has now become an integral part of my work. Utilizing modern materials while staying true to the visual language of Coast Salish design has been the core component of my art practice. This public art opportunity is a great fit for my continued work of shifting perspectives on Indigenous art.

The imagery depicted on the post are two salmon swimming in unison. There are eggs in between representing rebirth and the cycle of the salmons life. As a whole, the design follows the movement of the river.

I have designed the sculpture so that you are forced to move around it to read the story. This makes for a more bodily and visceral experience.

Xwemelch’stn - Fast moving water of fish (2019) James Harry

Xwemelch’stn - Fast moving water of fish (2019) James Harry

MY PEOPLE WILL SLEEP FOR ONE HUNDRED YEARS, AND WHEN THEY AWAKE, IT WILL BE THE ARTISTS WHO GIVE THEM BACK THEIR SPIRIT.
James Harry - Project Xwemelch’stn (2019)

James Harry - Project Xwemelch’stn (2019)

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Xwemelch’stn - Fast moving water of fish (2019) James Harry

Xwemelch’stn - Fast moving water of fish (2019) James Harry

Cedar Bowes - Xwemelch’stn - Fast moving water of fish (2019) James Harry

Cedar Bowes - Xwemelch’stn - Fast moving water of fish (2019) James Harry

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Unveiling Ceremony

Snowbird song

James Harry