‘The Rivers that Connect Us’ rises at Museum of Surrey in Cloverdale

Artists (from left) Aaron Jordan, Phyllis Atkins, and Drew Atkins stand in front of their new sculpture “The Rivers that Connect Us” at the Museum of Surrey. (Image via Facebook)Artists (from left) Aaron Jordan, Phyllis Atkins, and Drew Atkins stand in front of their new sculpture “The Rivers that Connect Us” at the Museum of Surrey. (Image via Facebook)
Charlie Sangster sweeps dirt away from the newly installed public artwork “The Rivers that Connect Us” at the Museum of Surrrey. (Photo: Malin Jordan)Charlie Sangster sweeps dirt away from the newly installed public artwork “The Rivers that Connect Us” at the Museum of Surrrey. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
“The Rivers that Connect Us” at the Museum of Surrrey. (Photo: Malin Jordan)“The Rivers that Connect Us” at the Museum of Surrrey. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
The base for “The Rivers that Connect Us” at the Museum of Surrrey. (Photo: Malin Jordan)The base for “The Rivers that Connect Us” at the Museum of Surrrey. (Photo: Malin Jordan)

A new sculpture has been raised outside the Museum of Surrey.

Four paddles and a circular base make up a new public art display called “The Rivers that Connect Us.”

The artwork is located on the edge of Highway 10 and will greet both visitors to Cloverdale and commuters that pass through town.

The public artwork was designed and created by the team at Fort Langley’s K’wy’iye’ Spring Salmon Studio consisting of Phyllis Atkins, Drew Atkins, and Aaron Jordan.

“The paddles are a symbol of welcoming and respect,” said Phyllis, studio owner and Kwantlen First Nation artist. “We wanted the four paddles to represent the four directions and they stand on a spindle-whorl that represents a compass.”

She said the piece was designed to welcome people to the museum as the 16-foot high paddles are raised in a traditional Coast Salish way that means peace and respect. The traditional greeting was used as a way to greet travellers who would arrive in villages by canoe.

Phyllis said she also incorporated seven Salish Eye designs around the spindle-whorl base. “They represent the seven traditional teachings of the Kwantlen peoples: health, happiness, generations, generosity, humility, forgiveness, and understanding.”

When Drew and Aaron Jordan first raised the paddles, Phyllis said she stepped back to get a better view and was overcome by emotion.

“I was holding back tears,” she said. “It was a very happy day because we’ve been through so much. We’ve taken this from the drawing, through the rendering, to the fabrication, and now installation. I’m really proud of my husband Drew who managed the entire project, and Aaron Jordan. It’s unbelievable how they created this from our drawings to what you see now.”

SEE ALSO: ‘Celebratory’ sculpture to welcome newcomers at Museum of Surrey

Drew noted the artwork was inspired by traditional methods of travel and the reasons for that travel.

“Canoe journeys were a form of communities getting together,” he explained. “So the idea of bringing people together and honouring diversity was at the centre of (the design).

“The paddles represent the four directions and all the different people that come from those four directions to make Cloverdale home.”

Story continues below Instagram post.

He added K’wy’iye’ Spring Salmon Studio also wanted to honour the land-based nations with their art piece.

“Often, with all the urban sprawl around here, the land-based nations get overlooked,” he explained. “Surrey is the traditional territory of Kwantlen, Katzie, and Semiahmoo First Nations. So we wanted to honour that presence on the land. We sometimes forget about that as the land becomes more urbanized around us.”

The paddles are made of steel, but because of their size and the complexity of their design, Drew said he had to use a process called hydroforming to shape them.

“There is also LED lighting inside the paddles and exterior lighting around the base. Both of these are programmable, so they’ll be programmed to turn on at sunset and to turn off at sunrise.”

Phylllis added she’s grateful for all the support they received from both the City of Surrey and the Museum of Surrey. “I can’t thank them enough.”

Phyllis also said she hopes people feel a connection their sculpture.

The Rivers that Connect Us was meant to be welcoming for everyone.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

ArtMuseum of Surrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynaecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Essie Boelema, a 17-year-old lavender farmer, is passionate about the plant. (Screenshot/Special to The Star)
VIDEO: Langley lavender growers say season soon to be in full bloom

Family-owned farm marks five years by preparing for a summer of sales, tours, and growth

Mounties say they “corralled” four Ford Mustangs April 4 after an officer saw the muscle cars racing down 184 Street near 53 Avenue at about 10 p.m. (File Photo)
Mounties impound four Mustangs

Surrey RCMP say they seized four cars for street racing

Work was underway on the interior of the new Tennis Centre location in Langley. Popularity of the sport has risen during the pandemic (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Tennis business expands into Langley

‘Busiest we’ve ever been’ says manager

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

Part of the massive mess left behind in a Spallumcheen rental home owned by Wes Burden, whose tenants bolted from the property in the middle of the night. Burden is now facing a hefty cleaning and repair bill as a result. (Photo submitted)
Tenants disappear in the night leaving Okanagan home trashed with junk, feces

Spallumcheen rental rooms filled with junk, human and animal feces; landlord scared to rent again

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to register people ages 40+ for COVID-19 vaccines in April

Appointments are currently being booked for people ages 66 and up

A volunteer disinfects a historical Mohabat Khan mosque ahead of the upcoming Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, April 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)
For Canadian Muslims, second pandemic Ramadan is a time of hope and sadness

Many members of the association are trying to find ways ‘to help people stay connected to one another’

Most Read