It’s no easy task to bring grace to one million tons of rock, 10,000 granite blocks, 53 concrete caissons and over a million cubic yards of dredged fill. But with the addition of spectacular Coast Salish murals, the old grey breakwater at Ogden Point in Victoria, British Columbia has become a work of art. It doesn’t compete with its Pacific coastal backdrop but appears to emerge from it.
Beside the churning Strait of Juan de Fuca, the famous breakwater spans out into the sea like a dream unraveling, with images of of First Nations chiefs and British Columbia’s Lieutenant Governor Steven L. Point, and land and marine life.
The meeting of land and sea life in these murals is fitting, for the places where land meets ocean (called biomes or lifezones) are nurseries for all kinds of life. They are rich with nutrients, biodiversity and possibility. So it is with these murals.
Cold, salt water laps at the breakwater that supports these murals. Ogden Point is a famous marine sanctuary which divers visit from around the world to see Giant Pacific Octopus, Harbour Seals, Burrowing Sea Cucumbers, Hairy Lithoide Crabs, Brittle Stars, Ghost Shrimp and more.
The murals honour the sea and its rich life. Designed by local First Nations artists, the murals are part of an artistic project that will ultimately lead to 100 panels being mounted on the landmark breakwater. The first panels were created by Coast Salish artists Butch Dick (Songhees First Nation), Darlene Gait (Esquimalt First Nation) along with Aboriginal youth.
“The spirits of our ancestors live on in those of us who try to bring dignity and nobility back to our people through honesty, generosity and respect,” said Darlene Gait in a news release.
I can only speak to the way these murals made me feel. Looking out at them, as I did one stormy spring day, I experienced a sense of the noble.
I’m not talking about noble as in the European lords and ladies, but of something older and more powerful, something distinctly of this place — perhaps the spirit of the sea itself.
Special credit to Life As A Human photographer Chris Holt for capturing this sliver of light and beauty amidst the gathering storm.
“Land & Sea Murals at Ogden Point Breakwater, Victoria, British Columbia” ©2009 Chris Holt Photos
Previously Published by www.blackdotdiary.com. October 13, 2010. Published with Permission
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