The Front Doors of the Gallery have been relocated to the west side of the Lobby.
These stunning doors now hang as an art piece for people to view as they leave the elevator.
The doors are the work of Xwalacktun, a Coast Salish carver and North Shore artist. “He has been carving on the North Shore and for the school board for more than 25 years, and his work always is able to convey a story of people and their environment, so he was the perfect choice for this piece,” says Yolande Martinello, Director of Artists for Kids.
The doors, carved in his studio in North Vancouver, represent the cultural make up of the people of the area — the Squamish people, represented by the Thunderbird, and the Burrard or Tsleil-Waututh people, represented by the wolf. Even the blend of three types of wood, Douglas fir, red cedar and yellow cedar, reflect a union. The elements of the story within the doors are rich with history and meaning.
At the top of the doors is the Thunderbird, perched eagle-like with its copper inlaid eye, and represents the supernatural force that oversees all creation. The shoulders reflect The Lions, or The Sisters from the First Nations legend, who are the women from each nation that united the two peoples and were then turned to stone to oversee the generations that followed.
There is a North Star on one side of the Thunderbird, to represent the North Shore, and the Full Moon on the other side. In the centre is the Grizzly Bear, representing strength and inspired by the first Artists for Kids acquisition, Bill Reid’s drum design.
In the bear are the two carving styles, that of the Haida people and the Coast Salish people. The door handles form the tongue of the bear. On the left of the bear is a Canoe, in traditional Coast Salish style, representing the journey we all travel.
The greenish hue in background of the bear was chosen to symbolize wealth and is achieved through copper oxidation. The Wolf, that surrounds the bear, represents family and also has a copper inlaid eye.
To view these doors, follow the lobby of the Gallery to the elevators.