Prince Rupert Airport is home to three new cultural art pieces

Divya Gill
11/20/2020

The Prince Rupert Airport is now home to three large cultural art pieces, which have been installed at the Digby Island Terminal as part of the Coast Tsimshian Cultural Exhibit.

Artist Michael Epp carved two 15 foot poles for the exhibit, installed near the entrance where the airport shuttles drop off passengers.

The two poles are currently on-site, depicting a human figure with a paddle and nine symbolic human figures representing the nine tribes of Lax Kw’alaams and Metlakatla. The second pole shows the four crests – eagle, raven, wolf, killer whale – with a human figure at the base.

Epp explained the meaning behind the art he created and said it was truly an honor, bringing to life the creations. 

“The lower figures on both poles have a similar chief. The one pole has his hand gestured out in Tsimshian. When people speak the language, they’ll often use their hands a lot and gesture what they are saying. So his one hand is motioning them to come ashore. And the other pole has a similar figure, and he’s holding a big cedar paddle that’s got the four crest on the paddle, and he’s doing the same thing gesturing them to come ashore.  So we have the eagle on top and then the raven and the wolf and the eagle and killer whale. So that represents the clans.

Artist Henry Kelly carved a 30 foot dugout canoe, which is on display in the lobby across from the baggage claim.

Kelly said "I’m a student of the art, and I’m just trying to keep our art and culture alive. This is our identity; it connects us to our past. And this goes to show we are not going away,” 

In addition to the canoe, Kelly also carved a smaller 5 foot four crest pole to be installed inside the terminal at a later date.

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