The Salish Sea, artwork by Tsartlip Nation artists Chris Paul. (Submitted)

The Salish Sea, artwork by Tsartlip Nation artists Chris Paul. (Submitted)

Sidney aquarium installs local indigenous artwork

Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea legacy project

SIDNEY — New artwork has gone up outside the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea in Sidney, highlighting local, indigenous themes.

On Jan. 25, The Salish Sea, by Tsartlip First Nation artist Chris Paul was revealed on the ocean side of the aquarium, next to Beacon Park. Hailed as a key Coast Salish Indigenous marker, the 10-foot-tall sculpture is made of naturally oxidizing (rusting) iron, featuring the Thunderbird in the Salish sky, standing on an Orca whale with salmon and herring below.

A second work — a welcome pole that will be around 10 feet tall as well — is yet to be completed by Tsartlip artist and master carver Charles W. Elliott (TEMOSEN).

Both pieces are part of the Centre’s Coast Salish Legacy Project, expanding on their goal of educating their visitors about the Coast Salish indigenous people — specifically their historical and cultural connections to the sea.

The Centre received $35,000 from the Province of B.C. through a B.C./Canada 150 grant program. Additional funding and support was received from the Town of Sidney, the Reesor Family, Shaw Communications and the Salish Weave Fund through the Victoria Foundation. Knappet Projects, RJC Engineering and Kilshaw’s Auctioneers also contributed.

The two legacy artworks will be permanent installations in the park near the aquarium, which recently conducted maintenance work over an extended period.

Learning upgrades at the Centre feature a new Salish Sea Story, depicting the important connections of the Centre’s key species like herring, salmon and the Southern Resident Killer Whales, with the culture and history of the local WSANEC people.

— News Staff