Installed on the CVAG plaza, this public artwork is part of PUBLIC PLACE : SACRED SPACE, a multi-year program by the Comox Valley Art Gallery in partnership with participating artists, curators, Elders, the K’ómoks First Nation community and City of Courtenay. Together, the components of this undertaking are seen as steps toward reconciliation and aim to unearth the significance of the land upon which the Centre for the Arts plaza has been constructed.
“The Comox Valley has long been a crossroads—an intersection for environmental zones and for cultural differences. For thousands of years before Europeans arrived, the Pentlatch, who spoke a Salishan language, occupied the southern majority of the Valley. The northern portion, however, was held by the K’ómoks –speakers of another, separate, Salishan language. In the mid-1800s, the K’ómoks moved south and joined with the Pentlatch as the Ligwiłda’xw encroached upon their territory.
This piece is structured on the cedar wall planks of a traditional K’ómoks and Pentlatch house. As one faces south, towards the CVAG plaza and beyond to the far-reaching lands of the Salish, the wings of a thunderbird are visible. This is a major crest of the Pentlatch and it is rendered in a distinctly Salishan style. As one gazes north, an abstract tail fin of a whale is evident. This at once symbolizes the Whale House of the united K’ómoks tribes, while simultaneously representing the art forms of the Kwakwaka’wakw peoples. Ultimately the thunderbird and whale in Crossroads symbolize the intersection of the sky and the sea worlds to point us to the world in which we reside: the land.”
– Andy Everson
ANDY EVERSON was born in Comox B.C. and named Nagedzi after his grandfather, Chief Andy Frank of the K’ómoks First Nation. He has also had the honour of being seated with the ‘Namgis T̓sit̓sa̱ł’walag̱a̱me’ name of Kwamxalagalis I’nis. His cultural interests lay with both his K’ómoks and Kwakwaka’wakw ancestries and are expressed through dancing, singing, and even the completion of a Master’s degree in anthropology. Andy feels that his artwork stands on par with these other accomplishments. From early self-taught lessons, he has tried to follow in the footsteps of his Kwakwaka’wakw relatives in creating bold and unique representations that remain rooted in the age-old traditions of his ancestors.
This project was made possible through the generous support of:
Canada Council for the Arts New Chapter Program and Engage and Sustain Program
BC Arts Council
City of Courtenay
First Peoples’ Cultural Council
Province of BC (Community Gaming Grants)
We are grateful to the businesses who worked provided their professional expertise:
Tom Partridge (Valley Prototyping and Custom Cutting)
Installation/finishing crew Jess Lewis, Glenn Partridge, and Mary Partridge
Saleem Khan (Ocean Pacific Abrasive Blasting)
Kevin Boily (West Coast Home Theatres)
John Cripps (Industrial Plastics)
Phillipa Atwood Architect
CVAG team of staff and volunteers:
We are especially grateful for the guidance and support of the K’omoks First Nation.
CVAG’s Convergent Program Public Place / Sacred Space is supported by Canada Council for the Arts Engage and Sustain program + New Chapter program, BC Arts Council, Government of Canada, Province of BC, The Kòmoks First Nation, City of Courtenay, Town of Comox, Comox Valley Regional District, City of Victoria, University of Victoria Legacy Art Gallery, North Island College, BC Gaming, Campbell River Museum, Royal BC Museum and Library and Archives Canada, Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, U’mista Cultural Centre, Project of Heart Canada, BC Teacher’s Federation, BC Gaming. Local businesses and community partners include: Phillipa Atwood Architect, Valley Prototyping & Custom Cutting, Industrial Plastic & Paints, ABC Printing & Signs, West Coast Home Theatres, Imperial Welding Ltd., McLoughlin Gardens Society, SD71 Print Shop, Sure Copy and Hitec Printing, Outlook Engineering and Landscape Architecture, Bruce Lewis Surveying, McEllhany Consultants. We are especially grateful for the support of consulting Elders and Cultural Carriers, guest artists and curators, program participants and collaborators, gallery volunteers, donors and members.
The Comox Valley Art Gallery acknowledges with gratitude that we are on the Unceded Traditional Territory of the K’ómoks First Nation.