Carrielynn Victor & Debra Sparrow
Artists: Carrielynn Victor - Stó:lō & Debra Sparrow - Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm
Event: Capilano University 50th Anniversary
Details: The collaboration of mural artist Carrielynn Victor and weaver Debra Sparrow expresses the latter’s handwoven Coast Salish blankets in mural form as a celebration of a living culture. The centerpiece of the mural is a traditional Coast Salish house post, depicting an ancestor, honoured by being wrapped in a blanket. Vibrant patterns radiate out from this historical point — elements of traditional weaving that grow in size and urgency. The design highlights the role of ancestors in shaping a culture that is growing and looking to the future. There is also the present, with the mural given a clear sense of location by reflecting its immediate environment and the seasonal colour palette of the nearby forest. In the mural’s lower left corner is a black and white representation of a turning page, increasing the sense of heritage and learning. It’s a subtle reminder of the Coast Salish refrain to always carry with you who you are and remember where you have come from.
Carrielynn painted as part of the Vancouver Mural Festival in 2017 and her Stellar’s Jay design was chosen to fly on banners in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood of Vancouver. It’s no surprise that nature is a major inspiration for her as in addition to her successful art practice she holds certificates in environmental services and manages an environmental consulting firm.
Debra Sparrow Bio:
Acclaimed Musqueam weaver, artist and knowledge keeper Debra Sparrow is a leading figure in the revival of Musqueam Coast Salish weaving. With 30 years of experience, Debra creates art that embodies traditional Musqueam teachings while forging ahead and embracing contemporary design. She once said she wouldn’t stop until she saw the city of Vancouver swathed in Coast Salish patterns and she’s well on her way to achieving that goal with the cities largest installations of Musqueam art on the pillars Granville Street Bridge as well as on 8-stories of the old Biltmore Hotel. Sparrow likes that her murals spur conversation and bring awareness to Coast Salish artistry outside of institutions.
You will also find examples of her work in the Royal BC Museum, the Vancouver International Airport, and the Museum of Anthropology at UBC. Born, raised and still residing in the Musqueam Village at the mouth of the Fraser River, Sparrow is a self-taught artist, who spent four or five months studying art at Capilano University in the late 1970s.
Vancouver Mural Festival’s Indigenous Programs supports artists and organizations in the creation of public art and workshops for youth. We believe Coast Salish and other Indigenous artists have the power to reshape urban spaces by reflecting their contemporary and traditional values, stories, experiences, and ideas in this lasting and tangible way.
Vancity’s generous support enables us to better connect the stories of these programs with the public. Below you will find information in the form of videos, pictures, interviews, articles, and more.
Note: Our definition of Indigenous includes First Nations, Métis, and Inuit.