Midden at Telus

33' x 7.6'
16 panels each measuring 40.5" square
Carved Maple pieces

The artwork for Midden is inspired by shell middens found on the beaches and riverbanks though out the coastal areas of the West Coast. Once a place for waste and debris, a midden contains insight and knowledge into past communities. They hold stories and valuable clues of ancient human activity. Artifacts such as cloth and wood, find themselves layered between years of discarded shells, whose Calcium Carbonate make the surrounding soils alkaline and preserve remnants of an early way of life. The midden embodies the opportunity for us to discover and learn from our past, and connect us to communities who came before us.

The sculpture “Shell Midden” speaks to the Materials of Meaning theme as it is a way for modern societies to gain knowledge of past culture, through the discovery of materials employed in the past and the materials highlighted in the piece. The shells are carved from wood, honouring a vital material that was used in all aspects of First Nations’ culture. Copper which usually is not discovered in middens, will be found inlaid in mine, reflecting the important role it had in aboriginal economies and also representing connection between communities. We are employing fabric artist, Vesna Yankovich to weave copper textile fragments, which will bring focus to the tradition of weaving, and the storytelling weaving represents. All of these materials, wood, copper and textiles, come together in this sculpture as a medium to represent storytelling and communication.