The Su-gigyet Art Installation Project is a collaborative endeavor that features a stunning public art installation at the crossroads of Highways 16 and 37. It symbolizes the "new people" in the Sm’algyax language and aims to promote reconciliation through the arts while celebrating the significance of salmon to the people of northwestern BC.
The project has received a grant of $677,049 from the Province of British Columbia through the Destination Development Fund administered through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, and Sport. This grant is part of an initiative to enhance tourism and community vibrancy in the region.
"Su-gigyet" translates to "new people" and embodies the idea that the original people have embraced a new way of doing things. The name was generously gifted by the late Kitselas Sm-oogyet Mel Bevan and is used with permission to honor his legacy.
The project is led by master carver Stan Bevan (Tahltan/Tlingit/Ts’msyen, along with wood and metal artists Roderick Brown and Mike Sorochan. Stan Bevan is responsible for the central sculpture, which features wooden human forms encased in aluminum sculpted by Mike Sorochan. Roderick Brown of Cohowood Studio is crafting six large wooden salmon carvings surrounding the central sculpture.
The Su-gigyet Art Installation Project has anticipated completion date in the fall of 2025.
The project will be strategically situated at the roundabout where Highways 16 and 37 intersect, connecting the communities of Kitselas, Thornhill, Terrace, and serving as a gateway to various destinations, including Kitimat, Prince Rupert, Prince George, and Nisga’a territory in the Nass Valley.
The Su-gigyet project is a remarkable example of reconciliation in action. It brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists to create a symbol of unity and cultural understanding. Through this collaboration, the project celebrates the importance of salmon to the people of northwestern BC while fostering cross-cultural connections and appreciation.
Yes, the project includes interpretive signage in the safe viewing area that will provide insights into the historical importance of the location to the Kitselas people. Visitors can gain a deeper understanding of traditional Kitselas lands and culture through these educational resources. The Su-gigyet Art Installation Project serves as a platform for sharing cultural knowledge and promoting awareness of the region's rich heritage.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport and the Destination Development Fund.