ISF Launches Public Art Project with Punjabi Market
Banners feature artwork by Musqueam (Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm) artist, Debra Sparrow (θəliχʷəlʷət) and ISF2021 Featured Artist, Jag Nagra from the Punjabi Market Regeneration Collective
Earlier this year we unveiled a stunning new visual art project in collaboration with the team at the Punjabi Market Regeneration Collective, on the unceded lands of xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nation. The project enlivens the street banners around the market with stunning artwork by renowned Musqueam artist, Debra Sparrow ISF2021 Featured Artist, Jag Nagra.
The project speaks to the idea of place and placemaking in the context of the Punjabi Market being located on unceded, ancestral Musqueam territory and marking 51 years of existence as an important hub for the South Asian community. As Debra Sparrow puts it…
Roadways in our world today
Replace the rivers that were the roadways of the past
Where people congregate for food and gatherings
In Musqueam, the old people tell a story
Of a two-headed serpent making its way through the waterways
Leaving behind lilies…
Over the last two centuries, the story has disappeared deep into the bottom of the river
Only to reemerge in a vision by Isaiah Sparrow after the story was related to him
It is an honour to have such a young man following his history
Bringing back stories that are never ending and important for the places we live.
The geometric designs reflect the blanket patterns woven by Musqueam women,
And are as old as time…
The modern designed birds are filled with Salish elements
Like us, in this modern day world we adapt to.
The colours are in keeping with Jag Nagra
And her amazing reflection of her history,
Both as ancient as time
We walk together on this land
“The two banners I designed comprise of a phulkari pattern and a peacock,” says Jag Nagra, artist and member of the Punjabi Market Regeneration Collective. “Phulkari is traditional embroidery from the Punjab region of India where individual stitches create bold, colourful patterns. And much like the phulkari, what makes up a community is the weaving of individuals. Thread by individual thread is intertwined to tell a story, one that connects us all.”
The Punjabi Market Regeneration Collective expressed their appreciation for Indian Summer Arts Society in helping to enable the realization of this art installation. “Thanks to the coordination, support, and partnership of Indian Summer Arts Society, we’ve been able to collaborate on new banners to liven up the street and give the neighbourhood a refreshed visual identity, says Pall Beesla on behalf of the Punjabi Market Regeneration Collective Board of Directors. “The Indian Summer Arts Society played an important role in facilitating meaningful relationships and we are deeply honoured by the embrace of the Musqueam Indian Band and by the inclusion of Debra Sparrow’s artwork alongside Jag Nagra’s. This is the first time in Punjabi Market’s 51 year history that the Musqueam Nation’s flag has flown in the market. Tangible changes like this help honour the past, celebrate the present, and give hope for the future.”