'Mother of Wind' lands in Whistler

Sea to Sky artists express the meaning of Squamish

For many Whistlerites, Squamish is a place to find cheaper groceries, different outdoor recreation options and a bit more in terms of shopping variety.

However, Squamish also has a vibrant arts community, which has brought its works to Whistler to show just what the area 40 minutes south is about.

Titled "Mother of Wind," the Squamish-inspired exhibit is currently on display at Millennium Place and features all sorts of visual mediums conveying what truly defines Squamish.

"Part of the reason why we came up with that theme is that Squamish actually means 'Mother of Wind' in the Coast Salish language," explained Toby Jaxon, curator of the exhibit. "So we looked at what was unique about Squamish, a theme that could tie everything together."

Put on by the Squamish Valley Artists Society, of which Jaxon is a board member and past president, the exhibit features work from more than 20 artists from all over the Sea to Sky corridor - not just Squamish.

"Most of them are from Squamish, but we've got Whistler artists that are part of our group and a few that are from Furry Creek, so it's more the Sea to Sky corridor," explained Jaxon. "We welcome anybody, we've had North Shore artists be a part of our group as well."

According to Jaxon, the Squamish Valley Artists Society was formed to help foster growth in the arts and help promote artists and cultural values within the community. At first, the group was purely Squamish-focused, but that later changed to include the entire region. Now, with around 40 to 50 members in the group, Jaxon said the focus is more about fostering the arts community in the corridor.

"A couple of years ago we decided we wanted to start exhibiting outside of Squamish to create some more interest and exposure for our artist group," explained Jaxon. "So in the past we've had group shows in West Van and we decided we wanted to have one up in Whistler. So part of the idea was to come up with a theme that would create more of a cohesive show rather than a mish-mash of different artists' work."

The exhibit features over 30 works of art, all relating in some way to the wind, motion or progression using a variety of visual mediums.

The result is paintings, sculptures, pottery and even a heavily modified dress and umbrella installation that depicts the aftermath of a windy experience.

As for the theme, Jaxon said that the idea for doing an exhibit on the Mother of Wind came out of the idea that there was much more to Squamish than simply being a stop on the way to Whistler.

"It isn't just the name of our town, but it also means the winds in the winter months that blow through fjords and inlets of British Columbia, the coastal valleys," said Jaxon. "So that's where the theme really came from, that Squamish is a super windy community and the word means mother of wind, so it was a really good fit in terms of the definition as well."

The Mother of Wind exhibit is currently on display at the Scotia Creek Gallery at Millennium Place and runs until next Thursday (March 22). Admission is free.

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