The full statue of Chief William is close to seven feet tall, as seen here in Ken Sheen’s workshop. Dwayne Davis Photo.

WLIB unveils a new statue of Chief William

This is part of an ongoing initiative by the WLIB to install more indigenous public art in the city

The Williams Lake Indian Band is preparing to do their part to beautify Williams Lake with several new art projects, including a statue of the city’s namesake, Chief William.

WLIB Chief Willie Sellars said that this move is just one of the latest in a series of new endeavours the band has embarked on, including the recent opening of Indigenous Bloom cannabis dispensary and the winning of the specific land claim court case against Canada in April of last year. The move to commission public art for the community, however, was inspired in part by the WLIB’s upcoming downtown office move to its new location in the old FYidoctors building, which is currently being renovated for the purpose.

“We’ve got a number of different fun, exciting and awesome things going on,” Sellars said.

Read More: WLIB opens Indigenous Bloom the lakecity’s first official cannabis dispensary

The statue of Chief William is a life-sized wood carving, made by Ken Sheen — the man behind the three cowboy statues located around the Y, and is a striking resemblance of one of the WLIB’s most influential chiefs to this day. Sellars said that honouring the man the lake is named for shows their respect for both him and what he was able to do for their people.

Chief William’s influence was felt well beyond his community, however, Sellars added, including within the lakecity and beyond to neighbouring First Nations’ communities. This statue, in Sellars mind, is an important part of reconciliation and recognizing local leaders that, to this point, have gone unrecognized.

“We talk about contributing artwork to the city and there should be more First Nations artwork and that was kind of the importance around us getting that (statue) commissioned,” Sellars said. “It’s something we wanted to get done. Artwork is big for us and seeing more artwork in the City of Williams Lake is a big one on our agenda.”

The statue’s ultimate home is still being decided, Sellars said, with a location in Boitanio Park, their new office in the downtown or in their new band administration office in Sugar Cane, construction of which is said to begin within the next year, all being considered. Sellars said the most important considerations with its ultimate location is ensuring it will be safe and well visited. Vandalism of other public artworks similar to this statue has been a persistent problem within the city for years now.

Read More: Historic statues receive a new primer to protect against weather

The statue is not the only public artwork the band has commissioned. Sellars said that they also have several other projects in the works, including a recycled steel statue of a horse they plan to install in front of their new office after they move in.

Local city muralist Dwayne Davis assisted with the finishing touches on the carving of the statue and said that the statue, with the base, is around seven feet tall. Ken Sheen was commissioned for the project through Pioneer Log Homes and did “the lion’s share of the work,” Davis said.

Sheen created the statue using an old drawing of Chief William and several of the few pictures of this influential leader. The resulting likeness, in his eyes, is striking for a wood statue. Davis was also brought on to possibly paint the statues, as he does for others around the Y, though he said the decision to do so is up to the WLIB, ultimately.

“I think it’s very nice. It has a kind of regal presence to it and I think it’s nice to commemorate Chief William,” Davis said, adding it’s important for people to remember the region’s history through art.



patrick.davies@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Ken Sheen, with the assistance of Dwayne Davis, recreated the Chief’s likeness based on old pictures and drawings from the late 1800s. Dwayne Davis Photo.

Ken Sheen, with the assistance of Dwayne Davis, recreated the Chief’s likeness based on old pictures and drawings from the late 1800s. Dwayne Davis Photo.

Williams Lake Indian Band Chief Willie Sellars is happy and proud to be bringing more First Nations based public art to the wider lakecity community. Patrick Davies Photo.

Just Posted

Signage up for new cannabis shop, licence yet to be approved

Pacificanna owner said he is still waiting for licence, but opened his Port Hardy shop June 21

City of Williams Lake dismantles homeless camp in River Valley

Williams Lake Fire Dept. responded to a fire at the site the day before

Xeni Gwet’in riders bound for 2019 Williams Lake Stampede

Youth Wagon Trip expected to arrive in Williams Lake Thursday for start of rodeo

Astronaut David Saint-Jacques returns to Earth, sets Canadian space record

Native of Saint-Lambert, Que., set a record for longest single spaceflight by a Canadian at 204 days

Thieves steal two $40K chairs featuring gold serpents from Vancouver furniture store

Chairs believed to be the only two of its kind in Canada, police said

Poll: Rising gas prices force B.C. residents rethink summer road trips

63 per cent of respondents reported gas prices are impacting their day-to-day finances

Two in hospital after plane crashes in Okanagan Lake

RCMP say wheels left down caused landing plane to overturn on lake

The world’s Indigenous speakers gather in B.C.’s capital to revitalize languages

Organizers estimate about 1,000 delegates from 20 countries will be at the conference

Join talks on international treaty: B.C. First Nations mark ‘historic moment’

Representatives of the Ktunaxa, Syilx/Okanagan and Secwepemc Nations participated

Companies need clearer rules on workplace relationships, study suggests

One-third of Canadians have been in love at work, and half say no policy on the matter exists

‘Text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millennials’ skulls, researchers say

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

B.C. teen killed by fallen tree on field trip remembered as hero

13-year-old Tai Caverhill was the first to spot the tree falling and warned his friends

Most Read