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160 days to go – Xwa-lack-tun

September 5, 2009

I am so pleased that I thought to investigate some of the First Nations designs featured on a lot of the Vancouver 2010 merchandise.  The designs that I was looking up are called “Surviving the Flood” and “Thunderbird”.  What I learned is that a local Coast Salish artist named Xwa-lack-tun (born Rick Harry) created these beautiful designs for the Four Host First Nations and Vancouver 2010.

Surviving the Flood large format pin (limited to 2,010 pieces) designed by Xwa-Lack-Tun

Surviving the Flood large format pin (limited to 2,010 pieces) designed by Xwa-Lack-Tun

Here is the description on Vancouver 2010 of Surviving the Flood: “Legend has it that in ancient times, a great flood occurred that threatened the survival of the Squamish people. These people banded together in canoes and eagles dropped fish into their boats, giving the Squamish people sustenance and ensuring their survival. This story depicts the power of working together and the interdependence of man and nature.”  It’s a beautiful story and interestingly, the salmon at the bottom of the work has also been taken and used on its own, but flipped to be right side up.

Thunderbird large format pin designed by Xwa-luck-tun

Thunderbird large format pin (also limited to 2,010 pieces) designed by Xwa-luck-tun

Vancouver 2010 describes this design as: “The Thunderbird features images of an orca, a bear and the sky, which represents the Sea to Sky area where the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games will be hosted. The Sea to Sky story is cradled by canoe paddles in the upright position, representing respect, peace and harmony.”  Thunderbird is the most powerful supernatural creature in Northwest Coast Native mythology.  Thunderbird lives high in the mountains and fishes for killer whales (orca) when he is hungry.  He lifts them from the ocean in his talons and soars through the sky, looking similar to an  eagle with salmon.  The flapping of Thunderbird’s wings causes thunder and when he blinks lightning flashes from his eyes!

Xwa-lack-tun is an internationally recognized artist, who started at the Emily Carr College of Art and Capilano College.  He also believes that he learned a lot through trial-and-error.  His work is found throughout Vancouver and British Columbia (see below) as well as further afield in places such as New Hampshire where a 41.5 foot pole now resides at an art gallery.  Vancouver 2010 has an excellent story about Xwa-lack-tun that you can find here.

If you are interested in finding an item for a gift or for yourself with either Surviving the Flood or Thunderbird on it, check at the Vancouver 2010 store, or at the Olympic Store at the Bay Downtown (soon to be Olympic Superstore!).  Options include pins, coins, bags, shirts, scarves, luggage tags and many others!

Other news: the Women’s Hockey Canada Cup had a break today, but tomorrow the USA plays Finland at 3:00pm and Canada plays Sweden at 7:30pm.  And Sunday will be the day for the Bronze medal match at 3:00pm and the Gold Medal Game at 7:30pm (see you there right?!).  Get your tickets here.

I just heard today that the YVR Airporter, the fleet of shuttle buses that run between YVR airport and downtown Vancouver will be shutting down September 30th as most of the route is now duplicated by the Canada Line.  If you have been a regular user of the YVR Airporter you may want to start thinking about taking the Canada Line from the YVR Airport to your nearest Canada Line station, and then walking or catching a cab from there.  I have to say, the Canada Line works really well.  When I went to Calgary last week I took it both ways and found it a fast and simple way to get to the airport.  So hop on!  That reminds me, I need to get out to YVR again soon to check out some of their new art installations.  There is a lot of new stuff and it is gorgeous!!

Last and by no means least – a teaser!  I met a secret today!  You didn’t know you could meet a secret did you?  But I did, and I am very much looking forward to the time a few months from now when I can tell you what it is.  Until then Vancouver 2010 fans, you shall have to wait, and I shall have to keep my mouth shut (this is exceptionally hard work for me, I promise!).

I’m working early tomorrow, so good night, bonne nuit, thank you and merci.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Your Friend Patricia - Kwitsel Tatel permalink
    December 8, 2009 8:29 pm

    Xwa Lac Tun, I am Patricia Kwitsel Tatel…call me when you get this message. 604-847-3141

  2. July 14, 2010 3:30 am

    Thanks for the info on Xwa-lack-tun Andrea, I just had a look at his site and body of work, beautiful pieces. I just loved the first nations design through the games, popping up everywhere and those pins are my favourites.

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