To celebrate the first anniversary of Ocean Networks Canada’s (ONC) home at the University of Victoria’s ocean-climate building at the Queenswood campus—which officially launched on 10 January 2019—we unveiled a stunning commissioned artwork by world-renowned Coast Salish artist Luke Marston.
“The panel that I’ve created for ONC was an honour to do because it speaks to looking after our oceans and monitoring our oceans,” comments Coast Salish master carver Ts’uts’umutl Luke Marston. “I’m glad that ONC chose to have a Coast Salish designed panel because it speaks to the true art form of the area. It’s nice to be able to walk into an area and be represented by the people of that territory. So, I’d really like to thank ONC for doing that and staying true to the Coast Salish traditional territories.”
Coast Salish artist Luke Marston attends the unveiling of his stunning cedar artwork at the ONC Board of Directors meeting on 9 January 2020. L-R: Fabian Wolk, Lyne Morisette, Robert Davidson, Lisa Kalynchuk, Don Krusel, Alan Winter, Pieter Romer, Luke Marston, Kate Moran, Maia Hoeberechts, Gayle Gorrill, Darcy Dobell, Rebecca Denlinger, Mark Zacharias, and Lucy the dog.
Born into a family of artists, Marston has been carving since he was a child. In 2015, Marston created a large bronze sculpture in Stanley Park commemorating the adventures of Gas Town pioneer Portuguese Joe Silvey and his Coast Salish family. Four red cedar panels designed by Marston are featured in the Ceremonial Hall of the University of Victoria’s First People’s House.
Luke Marston worked with ONC to develop the concept for his Coast Salish design, which features an octopus, the moon, and a deep sea skate.
ONC selected Marston as the commissioned artist out of respect for the people upon whose land the University of Victoria’s Queenwood property resides. “We didn't want to choose any artist,” comments ONC’s Indigenous community liaison Pieter Romer. “It had to be a Coast Salish artist to represent the warmth and spirit of the Coast Salish nations. I think you can feel that when you walk into the large room where the four-foot panel hangs. Before Luke designed the panel, we invited him to get a feel for the building and the meeting room. His artwork complements both the wood on the ceiling and ONC’s brand colors, combining traditional and modern techniques. It is an amazing project that came together quickly. We are very honored.”
Luke Marston at work in his studio in the Cowichan Valley.
“Coast Salish peoples have been creating art for thousands of years,” says ONC’s President and CEO Kate Moran. “Luke Marston continues that tradition today. Luke has brought together long-lived Coast Salish ocean values with Ocean Networks Canada’s ocean vision in a single, beautiful carving.”