A celebration of 5 of British Columbia's 9 official provincial emblems, as well as the "One Tree Exhibit" Maple tree
Around 1815 a Bigleaf Maple seed helicoptered into the fertile flood plane of the Chemainus River on Vancouver Island, Canada. It grew quickly, nourished by the water and spawning salmon which also nourished members of the Halalt First Nation, the only local inhabitants at the time. Over two centuries it grew to be one of the oldest and largest trees of its kind in the world, it was over 200 years old and 31 feet in circumference.
The land saw European settlement in 1865 by Sir Edmund Hope Verney, who had commanded the ship “Grappler” out of Esquimalt, before moving to Chemainus. He later went back to England to become a member of Parliament.
Captain Charles Edward Barkley of the British Royal Navy built a house beside the tree in 1892. Whether the tree knew or not that the diary of Charles’ grandmother Francis Barkley had been carefully stored in the house beside it, it must certainly have wondered about the sanity of humans when Captain Barkley, ran back into his burning house for the second time. Neither he nor the diary were ever seen again.
The unique history which this big leaf maple carries, is combined with addressing the connective relationship between the Indigenous peoples and the British Columbia emblems. The "Emblems"guitar brought a focus on five emblems - Western Red cedar, Bear, Jade, Salmon and the Dogwood Tree - each distinctly playing a role in indigenous peoples lives during the time that Sir Edmond Hope Varney and Charles Edward Barkley lived in the Cowichan valley.
OneTree series, presented by the Robert Bateman Gallery in Victoria, BC, brings together woodworkers in a unified task: to craft one of a kind works using wood from a single big leaf maple.
Indigenous artist Karver Everson designed the Bear piece for the front of the Instrument. Everson is a First Nations carver, who specializes in the styles of his ancestry which are Kwakwaka’wakw and Pentlach, and son of hereditary chief of the Walas Kwagu’ł of the Kwakwaka’wakw . My desire is to honour the Aboriginal peoples and pay respect to the new settlers “British Columbias” flag emblems with the piece.