Written by: Wren Handman,
Alliance for Arts and Culture
If you find yourself in Terrace this Culture Days weekend, a local artist is giving you the unique opportunity to help create a stunning work of art, and try your hand at something you might never get the chance to do again – totem pole carving.
Artist Joe Mandur is planning to recruit 3,000 people to help him carve a 40 foot tall totem pole in honour of his teacher, Freda Diesing. For Mandur, this project will help continue her powerful legacy. “She's still teaching us all, even after she's gone,” Mandur said of the carver who passed away in 2002.
700 carvers have already begun to help whittle away the back of the totem pole, which must be completed before carving on the front can begin. Would-be carvers don’t need experience, and are welcome to spend as much or as little time as they like with the pole. “It's a positive energy that goes into the pole by all these people that are carving on it, from little to big and old,” said Mandur.
He’s heard Premier Christy Clark and Nathan Cullen will participate, and he’s already welcomed Nisga’s elder leaders, former lieutenant-governor Steven Point, and MLA Robin Austin. But for Mandur, there’s as much joy in welcoming a family from down the street, or a visitor from another town. He’s doing it for that moment after the nervousness passes, when they put the chisel to wood and their face transforms.
“I just know it's a really good thing,” said Mandur. “And I'd like to share that with everyone.”
Culture Days takes place this September 26-28, with over 400 events happening all across BC. To find a list of events in your region, visit http://bc.culturedays.ca.
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