Coast Salish artist from Chemainus to design artwork for BC Ferries’ new vessel

Coast Salish artist from Chemainus to design artwork for BC Ferries' new vessel
BC Ferries
Maynard Johnny Jr. holding a steering paddle with an orca design he created.

BC Ferries’ newest Salish class vessel will include artwork designed by a Coast Salish artist from Chemainus.

Maynard Johnny Jr. is Coast Salish from Penelakut on his father’s side and is connected to Cape Mudge Kwakwaka’wakw on his mother’s side. He has focused his art practice on Coast Salish style for the past 27 years, and now, he hopes to bring that to the newest BC Ferries vessel.

“I’m proud to be part of the Coast Salish Renaissance and to perpetuate the Salish style with colour and design on a BC Ferries vessel,” said Johnny. “To share my vibrant style and colour on the Salish Heron vessel with the surrounding areas of the Salish Sea and visitors from around the world is an honour for me.”

Johnny’s artwork will adorn the Salish Heron, the fourth Salish class vessel to join BC Ferries’ fleet. Currently under construction, it will sail in the Southern Gulf Islands starting in 2022.

The Salish Heron will share routes with the other three Salish class vessels that entered service in 2017: Salish Orca, Salish Eagle and Salish Raven.

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

BC Ferries says the vessels are named to honour and recognize the Coast Salish as the original mariners of the Salish Sea.

“These vessels will sail in the Salish Sea for years to come and the work of the gifted Coast Salish artists truly represent the rich culture and heritage of our coast,” said Brian Anderson, BC Ferries’ vice president of strategy and community engagement.

Johnny joins Darlene Gait from the Esquimalt Nation, John Marston from the Stz’uminus First Nation, and Thomas Cannell from Musqueam as an artist for the Salish class vessels.

All four were selected in a partnership between BC Ferries and the First Peoples’ Cultural Council.

For the Salish Heron artwork, the council put the call out for Coast Salish artists to submit their portfolios for consideration. Johnny was selected out of 36 candidates.

“We raise our hands to each artist who submitted their work, and it was a privilege for those who reviewed the submissions to be involved in this process,” said Tracey Herbert, CEO of the First Peoples’ Cultural Council. “We congratulate Maynard Johnny Jr. for having his artistic vision for the Salish Heron selected to adorn this newest vessel. His work will travel the Salish Sea, expressing Indigenous strength and brilliance to all who see it.”

Johnny’s artwork is described by BC Ferries as “bold, bright colours and graceful line work” that embodies the beauty of contemporary Coast Salish art, while also playing homage to the rich history of Coast Salish two-dimensional design.

READ MORE: BC Ferries’ newest vessel arrives in Victoria


Jasmine BalaJasmine Bala

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!