Three human faces peer from the sides of a 20-foot circular sculpture, symbolizing humanity’s past, present and future. Six 10-foot salmon carved from red cedar swim around it, aluminium details glinting in the sun with rocks below.
That’s what Dave Gordon, Skeena Salmon Art Festival Society volunteer would like to see standing in the middle of the Ministry of Transportation’s upcoming traffic circle at the four-way stop at Hwy 16 and 37.
The estimated $400,000 project would further solidify not only Terrace’s, but the region’s, identity as a salmon-bearing, First Nations culture, Gordon says. Terrace’s signature Kermode bear may have to take a step back for this one.
“I’ve been here for 40 years and I think I’ve seen one, so you can’t come here and expect to see a Kermode bear,” he says. “Salmon is present, if you want to go see a salmon you can go catch one, you can see them all over the place. Salmon is really the centre of our cultural identity.”
The centre sculpture will be carved by renowned local artist Stan Bevan. The six cedar salmon swimming around the human faces represent the six species of fish in the region, and will be detailed with aluminium to symbolize the sometimes tumultuous integration of industry into Northwest society.
“Ironically people think they are in the centre of the circle which they put themselves in, but that’s not always the case,” Gordon joked.
The salmon will be carved by local artist Roderick Brown, who is well-known for his unique style. Aluminium waves cresting against the sculpture should catch the light as drivers go around the traffic circle, Gordon says.
The project’s simplistic design and gravel overlay should make it relatively easy to keep up, Gordon says.
“It identifies that you’re in First Nations territory, and we’re a salmon community, two core things to our identity that we don’t celebrate enough.”
Though Gordon stresses drivers should keep their eyes on the road, not the sculpture, when going around the traffic circle. A carved salmon, sculpture rendition and interpretive signs will be placed outside the installation for people to walk up and view.
The project is still in its early stages with efforts to pursue funding and public support to get it off the ground.