‘The Rivers that Connect Us’ rises at Museum of Surrey in Cloverdale

Artists (from left) Aaron Jordan, Phyllis Atkins, and Drew Atkins stand in front of their new sculpture “The Rivers that Connect Us” at the Museum of Surrey. (Image via Facebook)Artists (from left) Aaron Jordan, Phyllis Atkins, and Drew Atkins stand in front of their new sculpture “The Rivers that Connect Us” at the Museum of Surrey. (Image via Facebook)
Charlie Sangster sweeps dirt away from the newly installed public artwork “The Rivers that Connect Us” at the Museum of Surrrey. (Photo: Malin Jordan)Charlie Sangster sweeps dirt away from the newly installed public artwork “The Rivers that Connect Us” at the Museum of Surrrey. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
“The Rivers that Connect Us” at the Museum of Surrrey. (Photo: Malin Jordan)“The Rivers that Connect Us” at the Museum of Surrrey. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
The base for “The Rivers that Connect Us” at the Museum of Surrrey. (Photo: Malin Jordan)The base for “The Rivers that Connect Us” at the Museum of Surrrey. (Photo: Malin Jordan)

A new sculpture has been raised outside the Museum of Surrey.

Four paddles and a circular base make up a new public art display called “The Rivers that Connect Us.”

The artwork is located on the edge of Highway 10 and will greet both visitors to Cloverdale and commuters that pass through town.

The public artwork was designed and created by the team at Fort Langley’s K’wy’iye’ Spring Salmon Studio consisting of Phyllis Atkins, Drew Atkins, and Aaron Jordan.

“The paddles are a symbol of welcoming and respect,” said Phyllis, studio owner and Kwantlen First Nation artist. “We wanted the four paddles to represent the four directions and they stand on a spindle-whorl that represents a compass.”

She said the piece was designed to welcome people to the museum as the 16-foot high paddles are raised in a traditional Coast Salish way that means peace and respect. The traditional greeting was used as a way to greet travellers who would arrive in villages by canoe.

Phyllis said she also incorporated seven Salish Eye designs around the spindle-whorl base. “They represent the seven traditional teachings of the Kwantlen peoples: health, happiness, generations, generosity, humility, forgiveness, and understanding.”

When Drew and Aaron Jordan first raised the paddles, Phyllis said she stepped back to get a better view and was overcome by emotion.

“I was holding back tears,” she said. “It was a very happy day because we’ve been through so much. We’ve taken this from the drawing, through the rendering, to the fabrication, and now installation. I’m really proud of my husband Drew who managed the entire project, and Aaron Jordan. It’s unbelievable how they created this from our drawings to what you see now.”

SEE ALSO: ‘Celebratory’ sculpture to welcome newcomers at Museum of Surrey

Drew noted the artwork was inspired by traditional methods of travel and the reasons for that travel.

“Canoe journeys were a form of communities getting together,” he explained. “So the idea of bringing people together and honouring diversity was at the centre of (the design).

“The paddles represent the four directions and all the different people that come from those four directions to make Cloverdale home.”

Story continues below Instagram post.

He added K’wy’iye’ Spring Salmon Studio also wanted to honour the land-based nations with their art piece.

“Often, with all the urban sprawl around here, the land-based nations get overlooked,” he explained. “Surrey is the traditional territory of Kwantlen, Katzie, and Semiahmoo First Nations. So we wanted to honour that presence on the land. We sometimes forget about that as the land becomes more urbanized around us.”

The paddles are made of steel, but because of their size and the complexity of their design, Drew said he had to use a process called hydroforming to shape them.

“There is also LED lighting inside the paddles and exterior lighting around the base. Both of these are programmable, so they’ll be programmed to turn on at sunset and to turn off at sunrise.”

Phylllis added she’s grateful for all the support they received from both the City of Surrey and the Museum of Surrey. “I can’t thank them enough.”

Phyllis also said she hopes people feel a connection their sculpture.

The Rivers that Connect Us was meant to be welcoming for everyone.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

ArtMuseum of Surrey

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

Just Posted

The Delta Police Department’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Unit: (from left) Const. Joel Thirsk, analyst Jody Johnson and Staff Sgt. Sukh Sidhu. (Delta Police Department photo)
Delta police respond to rising number of hate crimes

Police have received 15 reports so far in 2021, compared to 12 in all of 2020

Marchers supporting Indian farmers rallied in Surrey last month, from Bear Creek Park to Holland Park along King George Boulevard. (File photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey MP says mayor’s motion to support Indian farmers is his to make

“He has his own sovereignty, right,” Sukh Dhaliwal says

Researchers say residents should leave sleeping bats alone while they exit hibernation. (Cathy Koot photo)
Spring ‘signal’ brings White Rock, Surrey bats out of hibernation

Community Bat Programs of BC says it’s best to leave sleeping bats alone

(Photo: Creative Outlet)
YOUR MONEY: Tax tips for a complicated tax season involving CERB and more

With April 30 tax deadline, ‘it is important to understand the tax implications (benefits) will have’

This map illustrates the number of active COVID-19 cases in Greater Vancouver from April 4 to 10, 2021. (BC Centre for Disease Control image)
Active COVID-19 case in Delta hit new high

262 cases for the week of April 4 to 10, most since BC CDC began releasing weekly city-level data

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Dr. Bonnie Henry – in a B.C. health order that went into effect April 12 – granted WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce workplace closures with COVID-19 spread. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
24 workplace closures being enforced in Fraser Health under new COVID-19 order

WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce closures if COVID-19 has spread to 3 or more employees

Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue were conducting training operations at Gold Creek Falls when a firefighter broke their leg. (Eileen Robinson photo - Special to The News)
Firefighter suffers broken leg during swift water rescue practice in Golden Ears park

A training exercise at Maple Ridge waterfall on Wedesday results in mishap

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Most Read