November 26, 2013 - 2:48 PM
KELOWNA - The Westbank First Nation and the City of Kelowna have teamed up to hang eight banners of WFN art at the eastern start of Bernard Ave.
The Tuesday afternoon ceremony was attended by Mayor Walter Grey, Councillor Mohini Singh, WFN Chief Robert Louie and around forty members of the public.
Janine Lott is the senior artist for the project and she, along with Jordan Coble, an emerging WFN artist, were responsible for the design and implementation.
“It was three to four good months of hard work to get them all put together,” Lott said. “The theme is ‘The land is our culture’ and you’ll see that reflected in each of the different designs.”
A total of eight banners, consisting of five different designs, now hang from the newly upgraded light poles one both sides of Bernard Ave. near the intersection of Richter. The designs incorporate traditional First Nation motif’s, including bears, salmon, coyote’s, and other important symbols.
“Each banner tells a story of our culture and who we are as a people,” Lott said. “I feel really honoured to be able to share this part of our culture here in the Okanagan. It’s a great showcase location and we hope they will be up for a long time.”
Jordan Coble works for WFN and says that being included in the design process was worth the hard work.
“I want to say it was a difficult process because we wanted to be precise in what we were doing,” he told the crowd. “But it was an enjoyable process and it was something I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
In his speech, Mayor Walter Gray said he would like to see Bernard Ave. become less like a street and more like an outdoor mall in the future. He said that the amount of First Nation’s art in the City of Kelowna sends a message that Council and the people of Kelowna are diverse, yet connected.
“This Bernard Avenue used to be a street, and it will always remain a street, but let’s think of it as a place,” Gray said. “It’s a place for people and it’s a place for shared ideas and shared cultures.”
Coble says that he hopes to see several more banners hanging in West Kelowna sometime next year.
“This is the traditional Okanagan territory of our people and it’s nice to have our presence be established,” he said.
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WFN Chief Robert Louie at the unveiling of eight banners that will hang in downtown Kelowna.
(ADAM PROSKIW /InfoTel Multimedia)
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013