Carvings bring new perspective, watchful eyes to Shuswap park

A carving by Métis artist John Sayer looks out at Little Mountain Park in Salmon Arm. Some of the faces are Indigenous and some are of European descent in keeping with his heritage. Sayer carves with students at Salmon Arm’s Storefront School and students helped attach them with ceramic nails so as not to harm the trees. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)A carving by Métis artist John Sayer looks out at Little Mountain Park in Salmon Arm. Some of the faces are Indigenous and some are of European descent in keeping with his heritage. Sayer carves with students at Salmon Arm’s Storefront School and students helped attach them with ceramic nails so as not to harm the trees. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
A carving by Métis artist John Sayer looks out at Little Mountain Park. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)A carving by Métis artist John Sayer looks out at Little Mountain Park. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
This carving by Métis artist John Sayer presses its cheek against a tree in Little Mountain Park. Some of the faces are Indigenous and some are of European descent in keeping with Sayer’s heritage. Sayer carves with students at Salmon Arm’s Storefront School. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)This carving by Métis artist John Sayer presses its cheek against a tree in Little Mountain Park. Some of the faces are Indigenous and some are of European descent in keeping with Sayer’s heritage. Sayer carves with students at Salmon Arm’s Storefront School. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
A spawning salmon carved by Métis artist John Sayer makes its way up a tree trunk in Salmon Arm’s Little Mountain Park. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)A spawning salmon carved by Métis artist John Sayer makes its way up a tree trunk in Salmon Arm’s Little Mountain Park. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
A carving by Métis artist John Sayer looks out at Little Mountain Park. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)A carving by Métis artist John Sayer looks out at Little Mountain Park. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
A carving by Métis artist John Sayer is shrouded in snow as it looks out at Little Mountain Park. Some of the faces are Indigenous and some are of European descent in keeping with his heritage. Sayer carves with students at Salmon Arm’s Storefront School and students helped attach them with ceramic nails so as not to harm the trees. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)A carving by Métis artist John Sayer is shrouded in snow as it looks out at Little Mountain Park. Some of the faces are Indigenous and some are of European descent in keeping with his heritage. Sayer carves with students at Salmon Arm’s Storefront School and students helped attach them with ceramic nails so as not to harm the trees. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
A sculpture by Métis artist John Sayer looks out at Little Mountain Park. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)A sculpture by Métis artist John Sayer looks out at Little Mountain Park. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

If you feel like you’re being watched as you walk through Little Mountain Park in Salmon Arm, you’re not wrong.

Despite the sign warning of a mother bear and cubs in the area, the eyes in question belong to wood carvings above the trails attached to a few of the trees.

The carvings are the creation of Métis artist John Sayer, who carves with the students at Salmon Arm’s Storefront School.

Sayer worked in the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District for more than two decades. Since his official retirement a few years ago, he has returned once a week to the Storefront School in Salmon Arm to create carvings and connect with students.

The most recent project involved the long, narrow faces he has carved into the wood of fallen trees for several years.

He and the students recently took some of the carvings to Little Mountain Park, with the support of city council, to attach them. Ceramic screws were used so as not to harm the trees.

In a letter to city council, Storefront staff wrote of how invaluable the carving program is, how installing the carvings would bring some indigenous culture to the trail system and would help students build connections and ownership of their community.

Read more: Video: New faces emerge from the forest in Salmon Arm’s Little Mountain Park

Read more: Significance of Louis Riel Day displayed in Salmon Arm city hall courtyard


marthawickett@saobserver.net
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