Canadá: Beautiful Day artwork finds permanent home in Squamish

Canadá/ September  28, 2020 / By Denise Ryan/ source:

When Tsawaysia Spukwus, a Squamish Nation artist and drum maker, offers protocol welcomes at ceremonies and events, the first words she always says are, Halth skwile te-staas (It’s a beautiful day, today).   

When an Australian-born text-based artist, Kristin McIver, visited Squamish as an artist in residence at Quest University during the 2015 Vancouver Biennale and heard those words, she was inspired to create a light sculpture.

This Beautiful Day, a eight-metre-long, solar-powered, neon artworkdrew from her fascination with endangered languages and the natural environment to create the piece. For fouryears, the installation stood at the Xwu’nekw Park on the Mamquam Blind Channel in Squamish, where it became popular with Instagrammers (#thisbeautifulday).

The sign was moved into a warehouse in Vancouver to make room for temporary housing recently, but was prominently featured during a virtual exhibition in Times Square in New York, where it served as a beacon of hope during the pandemic lockdown and recent Black Lives Matter protests.

Now the work has found a permanent home in Squamish thanks toBlueSky Properties, a Bosa Family Company. Blue Sky will install the sign this week at SEAandSKY, their master-planned community of over 1,000 homes.

“It’s finally come back home to us,” said Spukwus, also known as Alice Guss.

McIver, whose work is primarily text-based, was inspired by Spukwus’ words after being invited on a traditional canoe pull to celebrate the opening of the Sea to Sky Marine trail in 2015, in particular the traditional acknowledgments Spukwus offered at every stop, including the words, This Beautiful Day.

Spukwus was happy to let the artist use the phrase.

“Anything and everything we make for the first time, we give a way,” said Spukwus.

“Teachings passed down through generations tell us that the creator gives each and everyone of us a gift, and it’s not a gift unless we share it.”

Spukwus was delighted with the artist’s work.

“It felt really good knowing that she really did it from her heart and her mind, her body and her spirit,” said Spukwus. “Sharing is the way to go, and awareness.

“My dad taught me the language and the culture and my mom taught me to work with communities outside of our village. That bridge is a two-way street. We need to work together to go forward.”

Like many art and nature lovers, Spukwus often went to take pictures of the installation with the Stawamus Chief in the background. Now she says she is happy the words and the work have found a permanent home.

“It has come full circle. I helped her, she got all the recognition she deserved, and now it has come back to the source who helped her,” said Spukwus. “It’s home. It’s meant to be here.”

And there’s another upside said. “New York now knows where Squamish, B.C., is on the map.

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Canadá: Beautiful Day artwork finds permanent home in Squamish – Sarraute Educación María Magdalena

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