The DVBIA has launched its latest laneway transformation, snéḵwem lane
Learn how to pronounce snéḵwem lane with Aaron Williams below
snéḵwem lane is located at Granville and Pender Street and features the Squamish story of the Salmon People. The mural design is a collaborative artistic vision between artists James Harry and Lauren Brevner, turning a predominantly grey laneway into a bright, visual feast with blue, yellow, and salmon-red colours.
The laneway’s design features Lauren Brevner and James Harry’s modern interpretation of a traditional Squamish story about how the salmon came to Squamish waters. The story was passed down to Harry by his father, Xwalacktun, and speaks of visitors with supernatural powers who, with the help of snékw’em (the sun), led the Squamish people to the village of the salmon people. The design’s focal point is a 50ft feminine figure personifying the spirit of snéḵwem (the sun) and seven kwu7s (chinook) salmon, which are the first salmon species to run every year. Seven is also a significant number for Indigenous people as it represents the Seventh Generation Principle: a philosophy that the actions we make now impact the future seven generations.
The DVBIA would like to acknowledge the Squamish Nation’s Language and Cultural Affairs department’s support in the naming process for the laneway.
Special thanks to the teams at Bonnis Properties, Cadillac Fairview, City of Vancouver, and BC Rentals for their support through the project.
Meet the artists
Lauren Brevner is a mixed-media portrait painter based in West Vancouver, B.C. Born and raised in New Westminster, Lauren grew up in a mixed heritage family, rich with culture and inspiration. Lauren’s paintings primarily involve the interpretation of female portraiture. She plays with polychromatic layers; the figures within it existing in surreal and isometric spheres. The women embody strength and femininity through sombre silence: their gaze, a myriad narrative. Lauren Brevner seeks to create a commentary on women’s subject and their depiction in art throughout the ages. Her portrayal of women serves to empower rather than objectify: a reflection of the vitality of sensuality over sexuality.
James Harry was born in 1989 to Squamish Nation and Namgis descent. He developed an interest in art when he began carving with his father, Xwalacktun. James started his career as a professional artist, carving the door panels of the BC Aboriginal Sports Hall of Fame. He later attended Emily Carr University of Art and Design, obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in 2014. The YVR Art Foundation honoured him in 2011 and commissioned James to create an art piece for Vancouver International Airport. In the same year, James completed a co-op internship with various artists in the United Kingdom. He learned metal casting and taught Coast Salish sculpture, painting, and drawing in Scottish communities.
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