In 2006, the “Necklace Project” was conceived in advance of the 2010 Vancouver/Whistler Olympic Winter Games. Each municipality of metro Vancouver constructed a unique and locally interpreted public art based on a mutually developed theme. Coast Salish sculptor Thomas Cannell was selected to create an art piece reflective of Burnaby’s past. A two piece artwork, Vitality presents a traditional Coast Salish family amid four basalt sculptures, conveying the circle of life through traditional Coast Salish imagery. The companion piece State of Nature presents abstract butterflies, deer, fish, birds, and flora on iron grates over drainage areas (waterways).
“After the initial visit to Deer Lake Park with my own family, I was thrilled by all of the families there at dance classes and playing on the rolling hills. This has been directly incorporated into my design, through the rolling landscape and the energy flowing through the artwork.”
Thomas Cannell (1980-present) was born on Musqueam traditional territory and has become immersed in the long-established art and cultural traditions of his Musqueam ancestors. Cannell chooses to push the boundaries of tradition within Coast Salish art, allowing his traditional pieces to find context and resonance within modernization and the more commonly secular arts and cultures of today.