Debra Sparrow hopes BC Place artwork 'lights the way as we move from darkness'

February 23rd, 2023

BC Place’s iconic Northern Lights Display is illuminating with a special design by Debra Sparrow every night until February 26 as part of the VMF Winter Arts festival's Blanketing the City.

The renowned xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) weaver shared her thoughts on the importance of sharing Coast Salish weaving patterns, colours and stories using the stadium’s lights:

“If you look around the city, you see the tall glass buildings and the lights, but really, what is your history? What is the foundation and the roots of this place? It’s blankets. We blanket the city with murals, and through the VMF Winter Arts, we now light up Vancouver and light the way as we move away from the darkness of the pandemic.

“This year’s artwork is far brighter, and it has new patterns that I’m excited about. Patterns speak to all cultures. As xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) textile weavers, we reflect the geometrics that give the whole city a sense of connection.

“We hope that humanity can learn from looking at the beauty of this artwork, and that it offers a way of connecting us all to each other. Here we are, as Indigenous people living on the outskirts of what you know as a city, where all of our villages were and no longer are. This artwork is also to honour our ancestors, for our Elders who were so wrongly done, while opening up a new way for all of us.

“My hands are up to BC Place for this amazing collaboration with myself and the VMF Winter Arts.”