Traditional language comes alive on breakwater

Team leader Bonnie Quaite of the youth artist group prepares to paint a panel of the Land and Sea mural. The project’s second stage is now installed on the Ogden Point breakwater. It will be blessed by First Nations elders on Saturday (June 4).

Land and Sea mural’s second phase done

Despite being three years from completion, the beauty and relevance of the Land and Sea mural already decorates 256 metres of the Ogden Point breakwater.

“It’ll be four years to complete all of the mural,” said artist and designer Darlene Gait of Esquimalt First Nations.

Elders and healers from the Songhees and Esquimalt nations will be on hand to bless the second stage of the mural on Saturday (June 4).

Last month the second stage of the mural was installed – adding another 100 eight-by-four-foot panels to the 100 put up in 2010. Eventually the mural will wrap both sides of the breakwater.

“It’s an ongoing, outdoor exhibition for people to learn about the Songhees and Esquimalt nations in Victoria and the Island,” Gait said.

The fluent design of the mural is different this year than last year’s first phase. Most notable is a blessing in Lekwungen, the original language of First Nations in what is now Victoria, written along the top of the mural.

“It’s the first time the public will see the traditional language of the Songhees and Esquimalt people,” Gait said.

She added that only three people speak Lekwungen fluently in the world.

One is Tom Sampson, who teaches the language through a course at the Songhees Nation and translated the message now written on the mural. The English version of the blessing is posted on a kiosk on site.

Initially, the Land and Sea mural was orchestrated and funded by the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. With the project now on its own financially, Gait expects community fundraising and other donations will allow the project to be completed.

Gait is lead designer on the project, unifying the art and style of herself and Songhees artist Butch Dick. The drawing and painting is being done by teams of youth artists, a different one each year. The group consists of two Songhees artists, two Esquimalt artists, one from an outside tribe and one non-First Nations artist.

Saturday’s blessing begins at 1 p.m.

Built to last

• The Land and Sea mural was originally to be painted directly onto the cement of the seawall. That was deemed impractical for a variety of reasons. Instead, the art was painted on weather-treated plywood panels, which were later coated with material that organizers hope will endure the ocean elements for 50 years. They were then permanently installed on the seawall.

Just Posted

Man hit by vehicle while sitting on a curb near Our Place in Victoria

Emergency crews cleared the scene shortly before 11 a.m.

Tree downs lines on Highview Street in Victoria

Approximately 3,000 without power in the area

Electrical appliance failure likely caused apartment fire that killed one Saanich resident

Large parts of the Richmond Road apartment building remain uninhabitable following June 21 fire

‘Irresponsible’ cigarette tossing blamed for two brushfires on Pat Bay highway

Fires could have started from any of the “dozens” of discarded cigarettes, says chief

Artificial reef created off East Sooke

Divers are discovering plenty of new sea life

VIDEO: Clip of driver speeding past B.C. school bus alarms MLA

Laurie Throness of Chilliwack-Kent says he will lobby for better safety measures

POLL: Do you think the penalty should be increased for tossing a burning cigarette from a vehicle?

With grasslands and forests around Vancouver Island and across B.C. reaching tinder… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Former Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo to retire

‘Bobby Lou’ calls it a career after 19 NHL seasons

Man charged in crash that killed B.C. pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged for 2018 Highway 1 accident where Kelowna elementary school teacher died

Province unveils 10-year plan to boost mental health, addiction recovery services

The plan, called A Pathway to Hope, focuses on early-intervention services that are seeing high demand

Rock slide in B.C. river may hinder salmon passage

DFO says it is aware that the slide occurred in a narrow portion of the Fraser River

Four-hour tarmac delay violates charter rights of Canadians with a disability: lawsuit

Bob Brown says new rules reduce the distance he can travel by air without putting his health at risk

Most Read