Depicted with optimistic colour and energy, Darlene Gait's pod of orcas appears as a family moving through the water. - Image courtesy of BC Ferries

BC Ferries, the First Peoples’ Cultural Council and Esquimalt Nation revealed today the first of three Coast Salish artistic designs for BC Ferries’ new Salish Class vessels.

Esquimalt Nation’s Darlene Gait designed the artwork that will adorn the Salish Orca. The artwork will also be displayed inside the vessel for passengers to view and to give additional exposure to the artist.

Coast Salish artist Darlene Gait stands next to the rendering of her artwork that will adorn the Salish Orca. - Photo Courtesy BC Ferries
Coast Salish artist Darlene Gait stands next to the rendering of her artwork that will adorn the Salish Orca. – Photo Courtesy BC Ferries

“I look forward to sharing my artwork,” said Darlene Gait, Coast Salish Artist. “It was created from a love that runs deep, a love that embraces my family today and those who we consider still with us but living in the world of spirit. The orca whales and wolves are also separated by two different worlds. I look forward to sharing with you my story.”

Last August, a jury of artist peers and BC Ferries representatives reviewed the submitted design concepts, from 9 shortlisted submissions out of 37, with attention to: artistic excellence, Coast Salish artistic style, ability to express the vessel names through artwork, ability to provide digital images for fabrication and ability to meet the project timeline.

Three Coast Salish artists were selected to create designs for the new Salish Class vessels:

  • Darlene Gait from Esquimalt Nation for the Salish Orca
  • John Marston from Stz’uminus for the Salish Eagle
  • Thomas Cannell from Musqueam for the Salish Raven

The vessels are named to recognize the Coast Salish as the original mariners of the Salish Sea. The two other artistic designs will be shared publicly over the coming months.

The Salish Class ferries are currently under construction at Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. in Gdansk, Poland. The Salish Orca will be the first ship to arrive in 2016 and will sail on the Comox – Powell River route.

The Salish Eagle will arrive in late 2016 and the Salish Raven will arrive in 2017, and both of these ships will sail in the Southern Gulf Islands.

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