“Rise and Fall.” a striking 21-foot-high outdoor art installation, was recently unveiled by at 4711 Hazel St. in Metrotown.
To Marianne Nicolson, an accomplished visual artist, cultural researcher, historian, and Indigenous rights activist, the installation is meant to symbolize the human relationship with the earth and is made up of four distinct pillars, with images that move across each pillar to form a single larger image of humans in canoes, symbolizing Indigenous belief systems regarding the values of peace, caretaking and togetherness.
The height of this project acts as a metaphor for the mountain peaks that nations floated up to in Indigenous flood stories in order to survive the oncoming catastrophe – serving as both a beautiful homage and as a warning.
Flood stories – tales of how catastrophic floods caused nations to float away while new nations were established – are central in the history of almost every coastal nation in British Columbia.
This shared historical narrative is not just limited to Indigenous Coastal peoples, as there are many stories of a great flood that occurred and which people survived and flourished. It is this intersection of the international experience of water-based catastrophe and the subsequent survival of this catastrophe that serves as inspiration.
“This installation uses historical narratives as a reference and the artwork considers the modern contemporary dilemma of global warming, which has become the greatest challenge of the 21st century, as a way to reflect on our capacity to anticipate and problem solve water-based catastrophes such as intensified hurricanes, unprecedented flooding and rising sea levels,” said Nicholson.
Ironically, “Rise and Fall” was in the midst of completion in 2021 when the B.C. floods struck, as British Columbians came together within their communities to support each other through an unprecedented natural disaster.
Townline recognizes its responsibility to provide space for dialogue and connection in each of its projects.
“We are so thrilled to see Sussex become an integral aspect of the larger neighbourhood in Burnaby,” said Melanie Briggs, VP Sales and Marketing at Townline. “As the city continues to develop and evolve, we felt it was vital to contribute to its ongoing evolution through this engaging art piece. Our hope is that Metrotown visitors and tourists walking by Hazel Street will see the installation and come to understand the immense connection this community has with its heritage and with our surrounding environment.”