First Nations street mural at new Bute-Alberni pop-up plaza now complete (PHOTOS)

Jul 31 2020, 6:30 pm

Just in time for the long weekend, the new street mural at the Bute-Alberni pop-up plaza in downtown Vancouver is now fully complete.

It is one of several added beautification elements made to the new temporary plaza, which has closed Bute Street between Alberni Street and the laneway north of Robson Street.

The roadway mural was painted by Kwantlen First Nation artist Atheana Picha, who studied at Langara College’s Fine Art Program and is currently being mentored by Musqueam First Nation weaver Debra Sparrow, and Squamish First Nation carver and jeweller Aaron Nelson-Moody. Her work was previously prominently featured at Vancouver Mural Festival events.

According to Picha, the mural symbolizes the many historic waterways and streams that once existed in Vancouver’s landscape, before they were buried for development.

Alberni Bute Roadway Mural

Completed roadway mural at Bute-Alberni Plaza. (Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association)

Alberni Bute Roadway Mural

Completed roadway mural at Bute-Alberni Plaza. (Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association)

“The use of Coast Salish design language (the circles, crescents, and trigons) in the waves to speak to the relationship Indigenous people have to water and waterways,” reads the artist statement.

“The water provides transportation, resource for nourishment, and represents life for us. The salmon are represented in an old-style Coast Salish design, speaking to our relationship with the Salmon that have sustained Indigenous people along the coast since time immemorial.”

The mural was commissioned by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, which also provided the plaza’s other beautification elements including the outdoor seating, fabric “walls,” and palm tree planters.

Alberni Bute Roadway Mural

Completed roadway mural at Bute-Alberni Plaza. (Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association)

Alberni Bute Roadway Mural

Completed roadway mural at Bute-Alberni Plaza. (Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association)

Alberni Bute Roadway Mural

Completed roadway mural at Bute-Alberni Plaza. (Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association)

The municipal government is working with local businesses and business improvement associations to create pop-up plazas that provide people with extra safe space to eat, rest, or enjoy the weather.

Other pop-up plazas created to date this summer are located at East 27th Avenue at Fraser Street, West 18th Avenue at Cambie Street, West 17th Avenue at Cambie Street, West 14th Avenue at Granville Street, West 13th Avenue at Granville Street, Bute Street north of Davie Street, Helmcken Street between Hamilton and Mainland Streets, and Carrall Street at Maple Tree Square.

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