The Abbotsford Arts Council welcomed about 500 people to Kariton Art Gallery today (Friday) to celebrate the completion of a cedar “house post” crafted by artist Raphael Silver.
The post is now situated outside the entrance to the gallery.
Speaking at the ceremony, Silver said he chose to make a hummingbird and flowers the focal point of the carving.
“When I see art, I just try to make something beautiful,” he said in describing his choice.
Silver said flowers are nature’s strongest symbol of beauty, and a hummingbird spreads that beauty.
The Abbotsford Arts Council commissioned Silver to carve the house post to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday and to acknowledge Stó:lo contributions to the community.
A house post is the Coast Salish version of the totem pole, and it is carved to proclaim the stories and values of the family or clan.
Outside of the Big House (the Coast Salish description of a longhouse), posts function as welcome poles, and inside they are used as support beams.
Silver is an accomplished artist known for other art installations in the community such as the roundabout at McCallum Road depicting the salmon, the house post arch at Fraser River Heritage Park, and projects at various schools, including Yale Secondary.
Prior to the ceremony, hundreds of Abbotsford students participated in a walk leading to the art gallery in support of Orange Shirt Day.
The day acknowledges, honours and shows respect to the survivors of residential schools and raises awareness of the intergenerational impact of mistreatment within these institutions.
Most of the people attending the house post ceremony wore orange shirts in recognition of the day.
Guests speaking at the ceremony included Chief Dalton Silver of Sumas First Nation, former B.C. lieutenant governor Steven Point, Coun. Brenda Falk, and Abbotsford Arts Council president Aaron Levy.
The event included traditional song and drumming, and a blessing of the house post.
The project is supported by the community fund for Canada’s 150th, the Abbotsford Community Foundation, the City of Abbotsford and the federal government.