Langley Fine Arts School students unveiled a project called This is Kwantlen – a portrait and biography series created in collaboration with the Kwantlen First Nation.
Over the past two months, LFAS students have been photographing and writing biographies for local Kwantlen First Nation members.
The artwork has been printed on 24 large-scale banners, which now adorn various exterior areas throughout Fort Langley and at the Fort Langley National Historic Site throughout April and May.
On Friday, April 12, community members gathered together at the Fort Langley National Historic Site to watch the unveiling, listen to First Nations drumming, and hear more about the project.
“We never thought we’d be honoured like this ever in our lifetime,” said Kwantlen First Nation Chief Marilyn Gabriel.
“This is an amazing day. You don’t know how much it fills our hearts to be acknowledged where we literally reside. We go driving around and we see our elders and we almost have car accidents,” she joked.
The students of Donna Usher’s photography class said the project took about two months to complete.
“It was really about truth and reconciliation for First Nations people, and more specifically – the Kwantlen community,” explained Grade 12 student Simon Tremblay.
He added it was an especially important project because LFAS resides on the unceded territory of the Kwantlen First Nation.
“We felt it was our duty to honour them in a way, and show the rest of the community how important they really are to us.”
Grade 12 student Olivia Kwasnik explained the project was also important to her in order to “honour the community.”
Prior to photo shoots, Kwasnik said the class met with members of the Kwantlen First Nation, and did activities together.
“It’s incredibly important to have them up on the walls here on their land. They are all such incredible and different people. It was amazing to work with them.”
For more information and to view the portraits online, visit https://lfasphoto.wixsite.com/thisiskwantlen