Coast Salish artist Carrielynn Victor (Xémontalot) painting a pillar
A new mural series across six pillars at the main entrance of Vancouver centre, created by Coast Salish artist Carrielynn Victor (Xémontalot), is now welcoming patients, families, staff and visitors to the Vancouver cancer centre.
“I’m am presenting a number of artistic styles, recognizing the diversity of the patients and visitors to the centre itself,” says artist Carrielynn Victor. “By focussing on the flora and fauna of the West Coast, I’m really aiming to bring colour and life to the space. I focussed on plants that offer us all medicine. From the sea bottom to the mountaintop and the sky, my intentions are about lifting the mood for people coming into the centre who may be having a difficult time.”
The installation, informed by Carrielynn’s heritage and the history of the land, acknowledges that the centre stands on the ancestral and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples including the Musqueam, Squamish Nation and Tsleil-waututh Nation.
“Carrielynn is an artist who has bright, vivid, confident colours in her art and yet also flowing gentle imagery that exudes healthy lifestyle, healing and growth,” says Susan Schroeder, executive director, Regional Clinical Services at BC Cancer – Vancouver. “We want our patients and visitors to be assured that they are coming to a place that is safe and will respect them and their choices, care tenderly throughout their journey and provide hope, relief and comfort.”
“The artwork has completely transformed this space, and I’ve already ready heard many staff and patients comment on Carrielynn’s amazing work” says Dr. Dan Renouf, executive medical director, BC Cancer - Vancouver.
Two of six pillars welcoming patients, staff and visitors to BC Cancer - Vancouver
Carrielynn notes that through her process of painting one pillar at a time, she has had the opportunity to connect with patients and visitors. “Interacting with people here reminded me of people I know who have been touched by cancer. If they are connecting with the space and they enjoy it – I can’t ask for anything more.”
The art helps to illustrate the value and commitment BC Cancer – Vancouver has in creating a safe space for Indigenous patients. “This is a basic foundational step toward recognizing the lands that we work on and sets the tone that we want to create a psychologically safe environment for our indigenous patients and visitors,” says Susan. “It is hoped the piece will encourage teams to think of ways to introduce Indigenous practices and techniques into processes and systems of care.”