snékwem lane is the Latest Laneway Project in Downtown Vancouver

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (“DVBIA”) announced today that its newest laneway project, snékwem lane, has officially launched and is ready for the public to enjoy. snékwem lane is located between Granville and Pender Streets and is the fourth transformed laneway project managed by the DVBIA.

snékwem lane photo by Kai Jacobson

snékwem lane

snékwem lane is part of a larger transformation project that came from a public engagement process called Re-Imagine Downtown Vancouver that revealed a need for more inclusive experiences and spaces over the next 25 years.

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 snéḵwem (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. 

snékwem lane is the DVBIA’s fourth laneway transformation. Previous projects include Alley Oop, a bright, pink and yellow alleyway located just off of Hastings and Granville; Ackery’s Alley, an outdoor performance space featuring an interactive light and sound installation adjacent to the Orpheum Theatre; and Canvas Corridor, located in Eihu lane between Alberni and Robson Streets, highlighting forty-five doorways and vents wrapped with artwork from local artists.

About the Artists

Lauren Brevner is a Japanese-Trinidadian mixed-media artist. Lauren’s work has been exhibited internationally and published in National Geographic and CBC Arts. James Harry is Squamish Nation and of Namgis decent. James’ creative vision comes from a formal study of traditional practice and artistic approach of reclamation. His work can be seen at the Vancouver International Airport, atop Whistler Mountain, and he has permanent public art installations across the lower mainland and in the United States. 

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