Kwantlen artist Brandon Gabriel talks about the pier panels he designed that now adorn the Ruskin Dam. Colleen Flanagan Black Press Media

WATCH: Kwantlen artist unveils ‘highlight’ of his career at Ruskin Dam

Brandon Gabriel designed six panels that adorn the dam in Mission

Six new panels were installed last week on the Ruskin Dam in Mission, thanks to Kwantlen First Nations artist Brandon Gabriel.

More than 100 people gathered at the dam on Thursday, Feb. 7 to celebrate the official unveiling of Gabriel’s project which he called “one of the biggest highlights” of his career.

“It was probably one of the most overwhelming experiences of my career as an artist to see it put on display in that way. It was emotional the whole way through. The entire experience was overwhelming in so many ways, and to have my whole family there was awesome,” said Gabriel.

Video coverage of the panel unveiling can be found at the link below:

WATCH: Kwantlen story told on Ruskin Dam pier panels

Gabriel was first brought on board with the project in 2011, and over the years has been working on drawing designs, consulting with engineers and architects, and ensuring his vision for the pieces of steel was met.

“It was a steady, slow process putting the entire thing together and making sure my story was told in a good way.”

Gabriel added the project was a “huge team effort” with everyone involved.

According to Gabriel, each panel is 35-feet-long, and 12-feet-wide.

“Each one is about three storeys [tall],” he added.

Since the panels will constantly be exposed to moving water, they were engineered from weather-proof steel, and installed by a group of engineers at the end of January.

The panels are also an integral part of the dam’s infrastructure, and not just decorative, according to Gabriel.

Gabriel explained the panel artwork is important to the Kwantlen First Nation, as the Ruskin Dam area is an “active archaeological location in the heart of our [Kwantlen] territory,” dating back 9,000 years ago.

“On that site there’s a continuous presence of uninterrupted cultural findings to the present day. It’s important for Kwantlen people,” he elaborated.

According to Gabriel, when the first dam was built on the site in the 1930s, Kwantlen people were not consulted or respected.

That’s why this time around it was important that Kwantlen people were not disregarded, he said.

“I was quite impressed. BC Hydro spokesperson Chris O’Riley talked about the displacement of Kwantlen people at the time of the building, destruction of habitat, and the ancient village site under the dam. It was all addressed in his speech. It was a really good acknowledgement of that history,” Gabriel added.

Gabriel said it’s important the Kwantlen people be represented at the dam to ensure “history is told in a good way.”

Each panels illustrates and represents a different theme such as the Raven and the Sun, the Two Salmon, the Frog, the Mountain Goat and First Sunrise, and the Kwantlen Wolf Clan crest.

RELATED: Kwantlen artist paints and installs Indigenous mural in Fort Langley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Kwantlen artist Brandon Gabriel talks about the pier panels he designed that now adorn the Ruskin Dam. Colleen Flanagan Black Press Media

Just Posted

Road washout affecting section of Highway No. 3 near Manning Park

Road maintenance crews are on the scene, with an almost two kilometre long stretch impacted

Bags of books waiting at Mission Library

Starting June 1, the public can pick up any held books they have been waiting for

Survey asks Mission businesses: ‘What PPE do you need most to re-open?’

Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce helping businesses to source PPE locally

Middle school students honoured with G.W. Cooke awards

Mission Community Foundation hands out awards for excellence in Math or Science

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The importance of accurate, ethical reporting is critical – perhaps as never before

Human Rights Tribunal denies church’s request to toss out White Rock Pride Society’s complaint

Star of the Sea and White Rock Pride Society to go to Human Rights Tribunal hearing

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Abbotsford’s UFV gym now without a sponsor

Partnership with Envision Financial ends, school seeking new organizations to partner with

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Most Read