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This art piece called ‘Small Worlds’ will have a permanent home in West Vancouver

'The artwork is intended to be natural, playful, and interactive'

A new public art piece that celebrates the community and nature will be installed at the West Vancouver Community Centre next year.

The art piece, titled ‘Small Worlds,’ is envisioned to complement the facility's lively outdoor space and encourage community interaction. 

Enhance West Van donated $100,000 to the District of West Vancouver to develop a piece of public art for the centre, at 2121 Marine Dr., in May 2019, with a vision for an engaging installation “that is welcoming and inclusive of the community, users, and visitors” and “reflects the essence of the community in its connection to nature, the outdoors, balanced living and family connection.”

To bring the idea to life, the district commissioned North Shore artist Brent Comber, who works with locally sourced materials to create sculpted objects, functional pieces, and designed environments. His “esthetic interpretation of the coast” has been admired on the world stage at shows in Paris, London, Japan, and even Bora Bora.

But, more locally, residents may have sat on some of his art pieces  –  with his seven "drum" sculptures, made of reclaimed western red cedar, used as seating inside the community centre.

His latest public artwork for the district, which is still being completed, consists of two pieces of western red cedar tree trunks – that almost resemble spider legs – collected from Horseshoe Bay and Deep Cove, which he named "mama" and "baby."

The pieces are 15-feet tall with a 10-foot base and nine-foot-tall with a nine-foot base. The intention is to place the pieces in proximity to one another on the grass in front of the seniors’ activity centre, across from the fountain on the south side of the community centre.  

“The artwork is intended to be natural, playful, and interactive, allowing children to play in and around the ‘legs’ of the pieces,” states a report prepared for council.

Council approved the permanent public art piece at the Dec. 14 general meeting.

Speaking at the meeting, Coun. Sharon Thompson said she was proud to see more of the local artist's work installed in the district. 

“I’m really pleased to see this piece of work, and I think the community will enjoy it,” said Thompson.

Mayor Mary-Ann Booth agreed, saying she looked forward to seeing the artwork in real life.

“The images look amazing, and I think the kids are going to love it too,” she said, adding it would fit in nicely to the chosen space.

“Thanks to the public art committee for working with Enhance West Van and bringing more public art to our community.”

The donation is set to cover all the costs related to the commission and installation of the project.

The public artwork is hoped to be completed and installed by May or June 2021.

Elisia Seeber is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.