Fish sculptures planned for celebration of city’s 125th anniversary
By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter
This summer, stay on the lookout for a dozen salmon sculptures beautifying the landscapes around the Coquitlam area. For its 125th anniversary, Coquitlam offered award-winning Jody Broomfield, a Squamish Nation artist, the chance to lead an art project that will be remembered in Coquitlam’s legacy for many decades to come.
In an effort to capture the theme of the city’s landmark year, Stories Told, Stories to be Created, Bloomfield wants residents to be reminded of Coquitlam’s continuing journey for more than a century whenever they see one of his sculptures. The goal is to reflect the remembrance of the past, the gratitude of the present, and the hope for the future.
Currently, the fibreglass art pieces, standing at more than six feet tall, are plain and ready to have local artists paint them with their imagination. An emphasis will be placed on connections to First Nations artwork, as the city’s name is obtained from the Kwikwetlem First Nation meaning “red fish up the river.”
“They’re a blank canvas,” Broomfield said to the Tri-City News about his 12 works. “People should think outside the box and test their boundaries, use their imagination.”
According to the City of Coquitlam’s website, the story is told that the once-small town used to be a place where you would find an abundance of sockeye salmon in the Coquitlam River. When a dam was built upstream in the early 1900s, all the fish disappeared, but thanks to the Kwikwetlem Nation and local stakeholder groups, the fish have once again returned.
Broomfield said to the Tri-City News that he wanted to celebrate the success story by incorporating the letter “C” (for Coquitlam) in the shape of his fish. Also, he wanted the iconic symbol to smile about its homecoming. “I wanted a happy salmon,” he added.
All artists and artistic teams in Coquitlam and any surrounding cities are encouraged to reach out and submit their proposals to the city’s website by March 15. The sculptures are planned to be unveiled at the Kaleidoscope arts festival at Town Centre Park on July 23 and 24. Once revealed to the public, the 12 pieces will be placed at Blue Mountain Park, City Hall, Como Lake Park, Cottonwood Park, Coquitlam Crunch, Coquitlam Public Library (Poirier Branch), Mackin Park (two sculptures), Mundy Park, Poirier Sport & Leisure Complex, Town Centre Park, and Victoria Park.