From left: Coun. Chak Au, Coun. Michael Wolfe, Coun. Andy Hobbs, Mayor Malcolm Brodie, Musqueam artist Debra Sparrow, Coun. Bill McNulty, and Coun. Alexa Loo.
Photo courtesy City of Richmond
Hand-woven blanket by Debra Sparrow installed at city hall
Published 3:46 PDT, Tue September 27, 2022
A hand-woven blanket commissioned by the City of Richmond from prominent Musqueam artist Debra Sparrow now hangs at the entrance of council chambers at Richmond city hall.
The hand-spun sheep wool blanket’s design honours Sparrow’s ancestors and the heron, the majestic bird associated with the city and its many waterways and natural landscapes. The multi-coloured blanket, which is approximately 1.2 metres by 0.6 metres (four feet by two feet) in size, incorporates motifs inspired by flying bird patterns and the waves of the Fraser River. The colour scheme and geometric patterns are in keeping with Musqueam tradition.
Sparrow created the blanket during her tenure at the Blue Cabin floating artist residency in Steveston in April and May 2022.
“The city is delighted to have such a remarkable piece of art from Ms. Sparrow on display for everyone to see at city hall,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “Ms. Sparrow’s proud Musqueam tradition and artistic qualities are evident in this blanket, which stands as a sign of the connection that exists between the city and Musqueam people.”
The Blue Cabin floating artist residency began its two-year stay in Steveston in January 2022. It offers a range of public programs and unique artist residency opportunities. Created during Sparrow’s inaugural artist residency in this location, the hand-woven blanket will provide a legacy and reminder of this extraordinary cultural experience for the community to enjoy for years to come.
Debra Sparrow was born and raised on the Musqueam Indian Reserve and is self-taught in Salish design and jewellery making. Her contemporary work combines textile and Salish design into geometric, hand-spun blankets and hangings that are found in many museums and institutions including Vancouver International Airport, the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, and the University of British Columbia.