Bowen-based carver and artist Simon Winadzi James says he is nearing completion on a project he is currently calling “Visitor” that will be displayed in the BC Children’s Hospital new building.
“I got the log last March, in Kelsey Bay, and started carving in April,” he says. “This kind of carving is normally called a frontlet or a headdress. These are very intricate carvings, but my version is much bigger than they typically are.”
“The sculpture is based on a story of a mythical human that fell to earth and left an imprint in stone,” says Winadzi. “Perhaps it comes from the many petroglyphs on the coast left behind by my ancestors. Some say that this man arrived through a portal from another time or place.”
Winadzi, known to many people on Bowen as Simon Daniel James, comes from the from the Kwakwakwawawkw Nation and has been carving for 34 years. He says every sculpture tells a story.
With this work, Winadzi says he has been trying to make the face of the statue look like a smiling human child - because many of it’s viewers will be children. He says he also hopes the piece will convey a sense of healing.
“Initially, I had it painted red and black, but the children did not like that,” says Winadzi. “So now, it is back to plain wood but there still may be some colour added.
The building where this work is to be displayed is expected to open in mid-September.