Water Travels a Cycle at YLW

David Wilson Sookinakin: Water Travels a Cycle
March 13 to September 18, 2019

Visitors to the Kelowna International Airport will have something new to enjoy on their way towards the departure gates.

A series of six large paintings by Vernon-based artist David Wilson Sookinakin comprise a 40-foot long installation called Water Travels a Cycle.

Through a combination of linear forms and vibrant colours, Sookinakin creates circular compositions that draw from the symbols and stories of his Okanagan First Nations heritage. In this series, the social life of water—from the rain of the clouds, through snowy peaks of mountains, to rainforest hot springs—is told in images.

One of Sookinakin’s works entitled The Turtle’s Spine depicts a turtle with a shell that features snow-covered mountain peaks, clouds swirling around the top-most altitudes, and an eagle soaring high above.

Sookinakin explains, “In times past the continent of North America knew a different name. It was called Turtle Island. On the turtle’s back was a noticeable feature which was its spine—a massive rock with many mountain tops stretched over half our continent. The Turtle Spine reflects the importance of the Rocky Mountains, as told in Salish legend.”

Describing The Turtle’s Spine Sookinakin says, “in the centre of the turtle are the snow-capped Rocky Mountains which form the turtle spine. Eagle soars among the clouds and mountain tops. Around the shell of the turtle are two snakes which symbolize coming full circle and the cyclic nature of the universe. Turtle is surrounded by a sea of salt water and the circle of the earth.”

David Wilson Sookinakin’s dynamic installation will give passengers a reason to pause on their way to their departure gate. Water Travels a Cycle is on view until September 18, 2019 at the Kelowna International Airport.

David Wilson Sookinakin was born and raised in the Vernon area and is a member of the Okanagan Indian Band. He learned Native art forms from Coastal Salish and Haida Artists in Vancouver, and eventually drew inspiration from his connection to the Okanagan Nation.

The artist will give a talk on Wednesday, April 3, from 12 to 1 pm, as part of the Lunchbox Talk series at the Kelowna Art Gallery. This event is free and open to the public.

For more information about current exhibitions, public programming, or special events, please visit the Kelowna Art Gallery online at www.kelownaartgallery.com.

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