Home / Artwork / Sna7m Smánit (Strong Spirit of the Mountain)

Sna7m Smánit (Strong Spirit of the Mountain)

Artists:
James Harry, Lauren Brevner
Year: 2023
Type: 
  • Mural
Medium(s): 
  • Paint
Status: In Place

Description

This large mural is painted on part of one exterior wall of a building in downtown Squamish. It features a profile view of a cloaked figure with Coast Salish imagery interwoven throughout the figure. It is painted in purples, pinks, blues and blacks.

Artist Statement

This mural is an extension of collaborative works between James Xwalacktun Harry and Lauren Brevener from a body of work titled “The Seventh”. This work engages familial supports and knowledges, including Brevner’s Japanese and Trinidadian heritage and Harry’s ancestral connection to Sḵwx̱wú7mesh stories, forms, and designs. We explore innovative material traditions and engage in experimentation through cross-cultural exchange. For us, the bringing together of diverse historical and cultural contexts is urgent. In 2022, we welcomed our daughter Hana Kimiko Kwílayus Harry to the world and began dreaming of The Seventh. Sna7m Smanit within the series embodies a transformative potential to share knowledge with future generations. As we worked toward the common goal, we spent time with elders, knowledge keepers, and storytellers from their communities. Through these dialogues, a cosmology of past and future reciprocity flows. In conversation with Gwen Mildred Harry, my Sḵwx̱wú7mesh grandmother, we learned that our daughter’s birth marked the seventh generation since European contact within our family lineage. Gwen Mildred Harry shared that, in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh teachings, the number seven holds a significant connection to the vast expression of time—to enact powerful change, one must always be thinking seven generations ahead of one’s own life, and importantly, that it takes seven generations for a past wound or trauma to heal.”

Lauren Brevner is a multidisciplinary artist based in Vancouver B.C on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Her Japanese-Trinidadian heritage deeply inspires her practice with a focus on matriarchal influence. Her work combines traditional approaches to portrait painting with themes of cultural identity and female representation. Her education has been nurtured through community relations, including a mentorship with artist and designer Sin Nakayamal in Osaka, Japan, expanding her approach to perseverance and creative purpose. Her work has been featured across multiple platforms, including exhibitions, civic projects, and print publications. Recent projects include exhibitions with partner James Harry, public art installations, and large-scale mural commissions around the lower mainland.

James Harry was born on October 31, 1989, in Vancouver, British Columbia, to a family of artists. His father, Xwalacktun, is a master carver of the Squamish Nation, and he learned Indigenous stories, Salish design, and carving skills from him. Growing up, James was immersed in Squamish Nation culture and traditions, which deeply influenced his artistic style and approach.

James later attended Emily Carr University of Arts and Design, where he obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a major in Visual Arts in 2014. During his studies, James focused on integrating traditional Coast Salish art forms, including Salish design, with contemporary concepts and materials, experimenting with a variety of media, including wood, metal, and glass.

Today, James is recognized as a leader in the burgeoning contemporary Coast Salish art scene, known for pushing the boundaries of traditions while using his work to promote cultural understanding and reconciliation. His unique style blends intricate carving with bold, modern designs and incorporates elements of metal, light, and Salish design. James creates work that is a powerful expression of his cultural heritage and a testament to the ongoing vitality and relevance of Indigenous art forms.

Location

Address:
38144, Cleveland Avenue, Squamish, British Columbia, V8B 0C4, Canada.

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