BC Ferries announce name of new Salish-Class vessel, call for artist designs

BC Ferries announce name of new Salish-Class vessel, call for artist designs
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BC Ferries is calling for local Coast Salish artists to submit vessel designs after announcing the new name of the latest Salish-Class ferry.

The ferry company has named the new boat the Salish Heron in recognition of the Coast Salish as “the traditional stewards and original mariners of the Salish Sea.”

The Salish Heron will incorporate original Coast Salish artwork on the exterior and interior of the boat from a B.C. artist, facilitated through the First Peoples’ Cultural Council.

The Salish Heron is the fourth Salish-Class vessel to join BC Ferries’ fleet and will sail in the Southern Gulf Islands starting in 2022. It joins a class that includes the Salish Orca, Salish Eagle and Salish Raven.

A call is now open to artists, inviting expressions of interest and portfolios, according to BC Ferries.

An adjudication committee, comprised of Indigenous artists and BC Ferries’ representatives, will be in charge of shortlisting and selecting the final vessel design.

After the first rounds of submissions, the committee will select several artists to be shortlisted and commissioned to propose specific design concepts. From these proposals, one artist’s designs will be selected for final refinement, adhering to BC Ferries’ specifications for fabrication and application.

BC Ferries says that, similar to the three previous Salish-Class vessels, the primary design will be applied to the exterior of the vessel and elements of the design will also be used inside the vessel.

“It is an honour to partner with the First Peoples’ Cultural Council and draw on their expertise in commissioning artwork through their network of talented Coast Salish artists,” said Brian Anderson, BC Ferries’ Vice President, Strategy & Community Engagement. “We look forward to reviewing the submissions and selecting designs that will celebrate the unique culture of Coast Salish peoples for years to come.”

The deadline for expressions of interest is May 10, 2021, and the company notes that shortlisted artists will be contacted and invited to submit conceptual designs by June 14, 2021.

The final selection of artists will take place late in the month of June, adds BC Ferries.

“We are excited to be continuing this partnership with BC Ferries as they celebrate this new vessel by honouring living Coast Salish art forms that have survived through generations,” said Sarah Pocklington, FPCC Arts Program Manager.

“This project raises the profile of Coast Salish artists in B.C. and shares the beauty of their work with an international audience. Providing space for Indigenous artists is a positive step towards reconciliation and a visual acknowledgment of the thriving cultures of the First Peoples of these waters.”

BC Ferries says the Salish Heron name reflects both the West Coast travel experience and the culture of British Columbia.

For the artwork on the previous Salish-Class vessels, Darlene Gait from Esquimalt Nation was selected to design the artwork for the Salish Orca, John Marston from the Stz’uminus First Nation designed the artwork for the Salish Eagle, and the Salish Raven is adorned with an artistic design by Thomas Cannell from Musqueam.

For full details of the call for artists, including submission guidelines, please visit the First Peoples’ Cultural Council website.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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