A new art project was unveiled at École Heritage Park Middle School last week.
The entire school population, including every student and staff member, took part in the creation of the piece entitled A River of Belonging.
Mikel Brogan, out-going vice-principal at the school the person who came up with the original concept, led the ceremonial unveiling.
He said the project was aimed at creating a stronger sense of belonging in the school and towards reconciliation.
Internationally renowned artist Marina Papais collaborated with Daniel Collett and local First Nations carver Peter Gong to work with the students to create the four foot by 12 foot piece.
Before the unveiling, the artists and Brogan were blanketed by Chief Johny Williams of the Sto:lo First Nation.
“Here at Ecole Heritage Park School and throughout the Mission Public School District, we have huge visions and aspirations that everyone will have a strong sense of belonging and pride in our school and community. To believe that we are all a part of the future and that we must flow together in unison, like the river in the art we are unveiling today, to create the positive currents that are necessary to evoke change,” said Brogan during the ceremony.
“This project encapsulates the notion that every student truly matters and belongs. More importantly, it represents the fact we are all connected on some level.”
He also said the school’s six core values – Respect, Responsibility, Perseverance, Courage, Integrity and Empathy – are represented with the six salmon in the project.
“While looking at this beautiful art piece that we call A River of Belonging, one of the most important components was having each of the students and staff create a rock for the river that had a message or picture that was meaningful to them. Each individual piece then becomes a part of the river that carries us all forward, into the future with good intentions.”
The piece is now a part of the school, and the Clarke Theatre and Brogan hopes the public will come to view it.