True artists express their creativity and do great works of art because it is the right thing to do. During the pandemic a brother and sister from the Gitxsan Nation in northwest British Columbia have been creating extraordinary, touching ephemeral works of art found at sites along northwest rivers. The biggest surprise is that like the Nazca Lines pictographs in Peru, these images cannot be viewed from the ground, but can only be seen at a height from a drone or a plane.
And that is what makes these forms, coming from these artists’ First Nations knowledge and tradition so wondrously vibrant and evocative.
Tom Popyk of CBC News wrote about Alex and Michelle Stoney and their found works which are beside the Skeena and Bulkley Rivers. The inspiration came from nature itself, and the formations of stones as they naturally are placed. Large rocks and natural formations became the base for the created works, and one that is particularly inspiring “The Hand” was the first piece placed, taking sixteen hours.
Realizing that these pieces are momentary and could be erased by weather or floods, the Stoneys then capture the image of the work using a drone.
As reported by Mr. Popyk, the Stoneys are now looking for a site to create their artistic sculpture of fish spawning, and are looking at how to distill the process to teach to children in schools.
This YouTube video below is of Michelle Stoney explaining her creative process. You can also hear her closeness to the natural environment and nature, which shapes the “as found” aerial works she is now creating with brother Alex.