A complicated feat indeed when the hanging of a 35ft painting at Kelowna International Airport involves sliding seven, 5ft by 5ft wooden panels, laden with gobs of thick paint, behind narrow walls of glass. The glass wall panels hang from tracks in the ceiling and move in front of and behind one another in a particular order, not unlike train switch tracks something only Liz Wylie, curator of the Kelowna Art Gallery is able to navigate.
Liz Wylie, the muscle and the brains behind the entire operation.
Clea Haugo and Liz making sure the text is tickety boo.
During a lull at the Departure gates the process of hanging the painting continues with or without foot traffic.
A peak between the glass of panel no#4. The eagle has landed!
Liz and her mystery man assistant?
The final piece is hung.
The glass wall is put back into position.
The Kelowna International Airport Satellite Space is an extension of the Kelowna Art Gallery. Sea Song was commissioned by the Kelowna Art Gallery for the duration of May 2016 to Nov 16th 2016.
Sea Song has made it's debut and is now sadly in the dark currently in storage. It is looking for a 40 foot wall that it can call home. An aquarium would be perfect.
The first 5ft panel of 7. A mallard duck pushes an empty red canoe. A bald headed eagle on a feather, a brown bear, a stellar jay, a hummingbird and a dolphin in what appears to be a native medicine peoples mythological creation story but the cloaked third eye, representing the inner eye of the seer, is a reference found in Hinduism, Theosophy, Taoism and Christianity.
I found images hidden in the texture of the under painting throughout the entire 35ft of Sea Song but the first panel really sets the stage. I did not consciously put any images in the texture. I built it with the intention of being totally abstract and non-representational. I discovered creatures hidden everywhere and put my own intentions aside to pay attention to what the painting was telling me that it wanted to be. I tried to represent as many as I found and bring them all into light but it proved to be impossible as there were so many. I did take some liberties to complete the painting when I wasn't sure if it was a dolphin or a seal for example I had to choose.
Although the creatures look peaceful and content, my sense is that there is a question being asked and it is, who is going to save the water, the planet and it's dependent creatures if there is no one steering the rudderless boat?
For much of the text written under the images about the symbology of the animals I used the information I found in the book Medicine Cards written by Jamie Sams and David Carson.
Close-up of the first panel. Turtle is the oldest symbol for mother earth. A hummingbird symbolic of ancestors and pureness.
Even closer on panel one. A new baby born from the water of a womb that opens directly into the ocean. A duckling by it's side brings sweetness and safety. Underneath, a frog almost hidden symbolizes frog medicine, akin to water energy, a pollywog in fetal waters.
Close-up of the top right on panel one. A bear sits on top looking out into the distance like the Captian of the ship. He wears a medicine blanket whose period of hibernation represents introspection and a symbol of the dream lodge. The Dream Lodge is where the ancestors sit in council to advise regarding alternate pathways for future goals.
Close-up of a wise owl watching over the scene on panel one. Owl is considered a sacred medicine bird and a symbol of wisdom because it can see in the dark what others cannot.
Close-up of Raven on panel one carrying the medicine of magic symbolizing a change in consciousness to help bring about a new reality.
Close-up of a blue-eyed Indian Chief on panel two symbolizing the interconnectedness of all things. We are all one born from the same source. He blows smoke rings that form an infinity symbol fanned by a wand of eagle feathers over the sea. The universe is infinite, limitless and boundless. Eagle feathers are considered the most sacred of healing tools.
Panel two depicts not only the blue-eyed Indian chief but a school of dolphins that symbolize the breath of life, an orca whale and a ribbon seal. A Salmon seems to be in the ceremony representing the sacred keeper of wisdom and inner knowing who, despite strong currents will always return to the place of its creation.
A close up of the top left of panel 2. A bear blanket costume dances in the smoke filled air during a sacred ceremony.
The third panel. According to legend Whale saw the events that led to the settling of turtle Island (North America) and has kept the records and the knowledge of Motherland alive.
The forth panel. The eagle symbolizes the power of the great spirit and connectedness to the Divine. It has the ability to live in the realm of the spirit and yet remain connected and balanced within the realm of earth.
The fifth panel. Seal, shark crocodile and penguin and even a blue parrot fish share the same water harmoniously and joyfully.
Close-up of panel five. A crockodile and a penguin swim together which can only happen in a painting.
A close-up of the shark on panel five.
The sixth panel. The dolphin jumped out of nowhere from the texture of the under painting demanding to be seen. I was stunned at first because I never put it there and it wasn't what I planned on painting. I textured over it with a bucket of paint medium (23 buckets in total for the under painting of the entire 35 ft piece). Afterwards, I began noticing there were sea creatures everywhere and I mean everywhere. Even though this wasn't at all the painting I had planned, in my heart it felt wrong to ignore what was being revealed. I surrendered to what the painting was asking to be and put my own intentions aside. I did my best to bring to life what I found even though I am really, and I mean really not that kind of painter.
Dolphin represents the breath of life something that humans cannot live without.
The seventh and final panel. Finally a mermaid in Walt Disney style enraptures a swimming fox, a shark and a seal, sending healing energy through her crystal necklace. She is telepathically sharing a message and symbolically representing the mysterious unknown. A part of life that adults have lost connection too that only children can see and understand. There is mystery, magic and healing power in water.
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