Salmon is king in Vancouver –in local cuisine and in art. After a few days wandering in the city or anywhere along the coast of British Columbia, you are bound to stumble across salmon swishing
through water or jumping up in sculpture, murals or mosaics. Salmon iconography is in Salish coastal Indian art, outdoor contemporary art and children’s art.
Salmon was and continues to be food sustenance in this part of Canada for several thousand years. We are entranced by the eternal, annual Pacific Ocean massive migration of salmon into British Columbia’s inland river waters. Each year, up to a million thrashing and jumping salmon, swim hundreds of kilometres from the Pacific to lay their eggs in inland river beds before they die. This long, exhausting and self-sacrificial marathon run of salmon life in Nature, continues to capture our imagination.
I have hauled whole, cleaned 3-5 lb. salmon homeward by bike. Then after ensuring salmon scales were thoroughly scraped off, I would cut up large chunks to freeze for meals. Salmon is the West Coast’s roast beef. You can never go wrong for visitors by showcasing a salmon dish at least once.
Sometimes red salmon in art alludes to certain salmon breeds, while other art depicts the salmon as a silvery, powerful fish. Both are artistic interpretations are valid: the flesh of salmon can be light pink or deep orange of sockeye salmon.
To pause slideshow below, place mouse cursor over a slide. You will see control arrow buttons.
There’s salmon art in some Vancouver parks, in sidewalk mosaic art, etched in street furniture, on walls of some public schools, fences and adorning some warehouses. There’s enough to create a tour de salmon art by bike. Just be prepared to cycle for at least a few hours or even for the day, to marvel this artwork at various locations across Metro Vancouver.
You can never go wrong, to use salmon imagery for art in Vancouver and the northwest Pacific coast. We would not want a day in the future for this magnificent fish to disappear from our waters and imagination.
More Salmon and Nature in Vancouver Art
Know Your Salmon Species. In Vancouver Sun. Aug. 14, 2013.
St. George Rainway: Painting a Bygone Salmon Stream. Jul. 18, 2012.