Premier John Horgan’s office surprised local First Nations artist Wilson Tutube with a picture of Horgan and the framed art that Tutube submitted. Submitted

Premier Horgan surprises local First Nations artist, hangs print in office

Wilson Tutube’s print inspired by plastic-eating meal worms

Premier John Horgan’s actions of framing and hanging a piece by a local artist in the premier’s office has boosted Wilson Tutube’s motivation to create more art.

The 21-year-old Nuu-chah-nulth artist is self taught and has a distinctive style, choosing unique marine and land-based specimens that represent one of Earth’s vulnerable and suffering ecosystems.

For the month of December a collection of Tutube’s art is on display in Island Blue art supply store at Fort and Quadra. The Oak Bay High grad is in the Victoria Native Friendship Centre’s entrepreneurial program and was part of the team of youths who painted the Seaton Tunnel Mural project this summer.

Last month, on a whim, Tutube sent one of those pieces to the premier’s office. It was a sketch of a darkling beetle with a brief write-up on how the darkling beetle’s larva, the meal worm, can consume styrofoam and other plastics, and digest it into biodegradable waste and carbon dioxide. It caught Horgan’s attention, and the NDP leader responded through the mail with a letter and photo thanking Tutube.

“I wanted to share that [discovery], that here’s [this meal worm that eats plastic],” Tutube said. “It’s news from last year but it’s not that well known.”

Tutube’s art is influenced by the traditional First Nation stylings of Vancouver Island, which Tutube applies in his own way. As a regular volunteer at the Royal B.C. Museum, Tutube became enamoured with the specimens of sea and land creatures and began to sketch them.

Among his prints is a Dungeness crab drawing designed to bring light on the worldwide phenomenon of ocean dead zones, a side effect of climate change.


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