This past Tuesday, Vancouver Airport Authority welcomed two very special guests, Valerie and Michelle, to YVR. Valerie Malesku and Michelle Stoney are the winners of our first street banner contest celebrating B.C.’s First Nations art. Valerie and Michelle’s banner designs were unveiled at The Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Jade Canoe.
A few months ago, we worked with YVR Art Foundation to come up with an idea for the contest to capture B.C.’s unique sense of place and cultural heritage. With this goal in mind, we invited B.C. artists of First Nations origin to submit their original designs. In the end, two winners were chosen from fourteen artists: Valerie Malesku, from Queen Charlotte City and Michelle Stoney from Hazelton.
Valerie Malesku is of Cree ancestry and has lived in Haida Gwaii for the past 40 years. Her art is inspired by many legendary Northwest coast artists including Captain Gold, Robert Davidson, Reg Davidson and Bill Reid – whose iconic sculpture The Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Jade Canoe resides in YVR’s International Terminal. Valerie’s banner design incorporates land, sea and sky with eagles in flight.
Michelle Stoney became interested in art through her grandfather who is a master carver. Michelle, who is of Gitxsan ancestry, was first recognized by YVR Art Foundation for her artistic ability in 2009 as the recipient of a YVR Art Foundation scholarship. Michelle based her banner design on the ‘weget’ (a raven), a favourite character that can transform into anything. In Michelle’s winning design, the weget is mid-transformation into a plane.
The banners are hung along Grant McConachie Way, YVR’s departures and arrivals ramps and throughout the airport’s parkade, so be sure to watch out for these beautiful creations the next time you come out to YVR!
We’ve also uploaded the winner designs and more information about the artists on our website . Check out Michelle and Valerie’s artwork, as well as all of the contest submissions that we received.