Award-winning banner designs celebrates Musqueam-YVR Friendship Agreement

It has been just over two years since the historic Musqueam-YVR Sustainability and Friendship Agreement was signed. This 30-year agreement formally acknowledges YVR’s ongoing working relationship that has always, but unofficially, existed.

Based on friendship and respect, the agreement ultimately supports YVR and Musqueam’s mutual drive to achieve a sustainable future for both communities.

Last year, YVR issued a call to Musqueam artists for submissions of a design that represents this Friendship Agreement.

The competition sought an approach that captured the strong YVR-Musqueam relationship and showcased a foundation of respect for both one another and the environment, while tying into YVR’s award-winning “Sense of Place” theme.

On July 11, 2019, YVR celebrated the unveiling of the agreement’s new official emblem and formally recognized the winners of the Musqueam-YVR Partnership Design Competition.

Created by well-known Musqueam artist Thomas Cannell and his daughter Summer, the winning design can be seen on banners positioned along Grant McConachie Way on the way to the airport.

Thomas and Summer Cannell described their winning design as follows:

“Our ancestors taught us to raise our open hands whenever we give thanks and as a friendly greeting. It’s symbolic of opening our hearts and minds—and showing our strength and vulnerability. We’ve included this teaching within our design by using Summer’s hands to validate this action; her hands are up welcoming this new friendship. 

“The stylized Coast Salish face represents our ancestors, who watch over us and guide us. The artwork is contained by four arrows, signifying a circle of life, also a metaphor of a spindle whorl and how this spindle whorls defines us as Coast Salish people.

“We commonly use the number four in our artwork. Here we use it by way of the owls/people and the four arrowheads representing worldly existence: the four winds, the four directions, the four moons, the four seasons, the four peoples, the cycle of the salmon and so on.”