Designs sought for new Port Moody house post

The next phase of the Welcome Post Project in Port Moody opens on Thursday with a carving consultation.

The next phase of the Welcome Post Project in Port Moody opens on Thursday with a carving consultation.

Squamish First Nation artist James Harry (Nexw kalus) — the son of hereditary chief and master carver Rick Harry (Xwalacktun) — will be at Noons Creek hatchery at 7 p.m. to talk about a design for a house post, to be raised at Rocky Point Park next summer.

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A student at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Harry will give a Power Point Presentation about his public artwork — which includes the 6' tall metal totem pole at Vancouver International Airport — and brainstorm with the public about what symbols to carve into the 10' tall yellow cedar tree, which was felled from the upper Squamish Valley about eight years ago.

The First Nations symbols added to the house post will characterize Port Moody, he told The Tri-City News last week. "It's not just my story but everybody's story and I will do my best to artistically represent it."

Besides the Sept. 21 gathering, Harry will also share his teachings about Coast Salish symbolism of animals and traditional carving techniques on Sept. 24 from 1 to 3 p.m. And, on Sept. 28, he'll unveil his drawings for the house post at 7 p.m.

The carving, which will also be carried out at the hatchery behind the PoMo rec complex (300 Ioco Rd.), is expected to take about three months.

The carving follows the Welcome Post Project summer series, which heard from First Nation elders and biologists. The series is presented by the Port Moody Ecological Society and Tasha Faye Evans.

Evans said donations are welcome to fund the carving and to continue with the series: Four community gift-making workshops are proposed for next spring while the house post raising ceremony will be held on National Aboriginal Day on June 21, 2018.

"The House Post will be the first post raised on these soils since it has become Port Moody," Evans said. "It marks the first publicly visible recognition honouring the Coast Salish peoples and raises the profile in Port Moody of not only Coast Salish art but art of any First People."

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