The City of Victoria’s biennial Summer Banner program showcases the talents of local artists and reflects the vibrancy and creativity of our city.
2019/2020 Summer Banners
Local Coast Salish artist Dylan Thomas was chosen to create designs for the downtown summer banners for 2019 and 2020. Thomas is a member of the Lyackson First Nation of Valdes Island, although he has heritage from the Songhees, Squamish, Snuneymuxw and Sto:lo Nations.
Thomas' early exposure to First Nations art print ignited a lifelong passion for Indigenous art and eventually led him to aspire to a career as a Coast Salish artist. Thomas received artistic training from the late Delmer Johnnie and Rande Cook. His work has been influenced by other traditional forms, such as Buddhist mandalas, Celtic knots and Islamic tessellations.
Thomas' designs are original works created for the Summer Banner program, to be displayed from May - October in 2019 and 2020. The banner designs depict symbols of some of the lesser-known aspects of the Lekwungen territory's history and mythology.
Born on the Shores
This banner depicts Thomas’ great grandmother, who was one of the last Lekwungen People born in the Old Songhees Village (currently Songhees Point), less than a year before the reserve was transferred to its current location. The top face is the mother and the bottom face is the infant, representing the two villages where his great grandmother lived.
Before it was called Fort Victoria, this land was briefly known as Fort Camossung, named after a girl in a Lekwungen legend who was turned into the boulder that sat in the waters at Tillicum Narrows. The boulder created a rare, tide-dependant, two-directional waterfall until it was blown up with dynamite in 1960. The banner’s artwork depicts Camossung with blue water rushing around her.
Building the Bastion
Using the salmon and Salish figure as Lekwungen symbols and the loon as a symbol for Canada, this banner represents the historical collaboration between the Lekwungen People and the Hudson’s Bay Company representatives who worked together to build Fort Victoria.
Reef-net fishing was exclusively used by Salish communities and involved the skillful maneuvering of canoes to capture salmon on their way to spawning grounds. This banner honours the skill by depicting two salmon above a human figure, symbolizing the Lekwungen People’s respect for the sacred salmon cycle.
Call to Artists and Selection Criteria
The City of Victoria held a Call to Artists for the summer banner designs in early spring. The Call was open to visual artists and graphic designers who were residents of the Capital Regional District. Submissions were evaluated through a one-stage jury process and the Selection Committee included artists design professionals, community members and a representative of the Art in Public Places Committee. Evaluations were based on the following criteria:
- Compliance with the competition requirements and objectives
- Professionalism in presentation of materials
- Confidence that creativity, quality and style demonstrated in portfolio materials and preliminary design concepts would translate into the development of high-quality final banner designs
The fee for the selected artist's banner design was $1,500.
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