Salmon are an iconic part of the British Columbian identity, and important to the economy and the culture of this region. With the announcement of more funds for the Pacific Salmon Foundation in last week’s federal budget and the opening of a new public art installation at the Canada Line’s City Center Station, Jim Breukelman’s Fish Ladder: Salmon in the Capilano rings in a big week for salmon in the city.
InTransit BC’s Canada Line Public Art Program supports emerging and established artists by providing space for public art in highly visible locations along the Canada Line route in Vancouver. The exhibit themes and types of media are very broad, featuring photography, sculpture, text based artwork and posters in nine stops along the Line, and often feature the work of artists from Emily Carr, the UBC Art Department, and Langara College.
Public art creates eye catching conversation pieces about the culture of this region as we move through our city on Transit. Jim Breukelman’s piece collaborates with the City of Vancouver’s Public Art Program, where they are able to exhibit local, national and international established artists.
Salmon are a captivating feature of British Columbia’s coastal wildlife, and Fish Ladder sets side by side the movement of salmon with people as they travel through the environment. Similar to a fish ladder, which guides the turbulent movement of salmon through the Capilano River Hatchery, people are funneled up and down the escalators to their destinations along the Canada Line.
“What I find uplifting about these images is that, even though these creatures are being controlled, funnelled through a man-made environment, they retain their aura of wildness,” Breukelman says. “In spite of the knowledge base we have amassed about salmon, there are still important aspects of their life that remain unknown. For me, that is the beauty of wildness and wilderness….its potential for surprise and conjecture.”