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Indigenous art shines brightly at Coquitlam Public Library

Indigenous Light Covers City Centre
By: Janis Cleugh, Tricity News

On your next visit to the City Centre branch of the Coquitlam Public Library, take a look up.

Images of butterflies and hummingbirds fly high — in swirls of blue and orange — on 37 new Indigenous art lamps in the Pinetree Way facility.

The designs for the pendant light covers were created by Katzie First Nation artist Rain Pierre (sɬə́məxʷ) — in collaboration with Dusty Yurkin, a graphic designer who is also Katzie — as part of the library’s Calls for Action staff group recommendation.

Formed last June, that group looked at how to respond to the tenants in the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

On its behalf, Ann Johannes, the library’s community development liaison for programming and community connections, contacted Pierre who suggested adding Indigenous art pieces inside the branch to raise awareness of reconciliation.

In a news release, Pierre stated that he “chose the butterfly because it represents the final stages of transformation. Like people are ready for help and wanting to expand their wings and learn, which is what a library represents.” 

He added, “I chose two hummingbirds to echo being two spirited and having acceptance of all people as equal in the library. Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backwards, which makes them unique — just like LGBTQ2s people.”

A professional artist since 2016, Pierre has worked with school districts around B.C. including School District 43 (Coquitlam) and with municipalities as an artist and motivational speaker. 

His artwork includes vinyl wraps on glass doors, logo design, custom paintings, outdoor and indoor murals as well as interactive murals with students.

Johannes told the Tri-City News that Pierre was selected after the group read about his work in the Maple Ridge newspaper. "His work was amazing so we thought it would be great to commission him," she said, noting the library is on Katzie territory.

She added, "We haven’t made a plan to do a similar project for the Poirier branch yet but we hope we will be able to do this sometime."

The art installation comes just before the 25th anniversary of National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, celebrating the heritage, diverse cultures and achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

Learn more about Rain's Art Project and Rain's Journey & Work.

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