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Seaspan requests contribution from Squamish Nation and Tsleil-Waututh Nation artists

The First Nations designs will be emblazoned across two new Seaspan shuttle buses
North Vancouver's Seaspan is looking for artwork to display on two new shuttles that will ferry their employees to and from work. | Seaspan

Seaspan has put out a call out for Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) and Tsleil-Waututh Nation artists to help create a design for two new eco-conscious shuttle buses that will travel around North Vancouver.

The two battery-electric shuttle buses will replace two gas powered buses that provide daily transport service for all North Vancouver-based Seaspan employees, shuttling to and from Seaspan worksites at Vancouver Drydock, Vancouver Shipyards and their head offices on Pemberton Avenue.

Ali Hounsell, director of communications at Seaspan, said the inclusion of Indigenous artwork into the bus wrap design is a reflection of Seaspan’s commitment to “developing respectful relationships” with the neighbouring First Nations communities.

The art call is intended to elicit responses from artists using traditional Coast Salish art design, specifically from artists of the Squamish or Tsleil-Waututh Nations, that parallel Seaspan’s environmental position, she said.

“[Coast Salish] art is often characterized by bold, minimalistic, flat or two-dimensional designs and carvings. Fish, birds, people, and other features of the natural world are often depicted,” she said.

Beyond Coast Salish art design, Hounsell said, Seaspan is asking that the artwork include no more than four colours, and stick to red, carbon black, matterhorn white and cool grey.

The deadline for initial submissions is June 20, with artists required to respond to the creative brief with a written letter detailing their interest and previous public art experience, if any, alongside the fee they are seeking for their design should they be selected.

Examples of previous work, including any websites showcasing such work, should be included alongside the statement.

Artists who are shortlisted in the second stage will have a two week time slot, between June 29 and July 14, to develop and submit their design concepts, before the concept is developed into a detailed design, with Seaspan, across July and August.

The buses with the new design will take to the roads later this summer.

“The shuttles are busiest during rush-hour and will be visible at high-profile locations around North Vancouver,” said Hounsell. “The selected artwork will be showcased daily around the North Shore.”

More information on how to apply can be found on both the Squamish Nation and Tsleil-Waututh Nation websites. 

Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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