“As I read about the First Nation’s people and learned more about their oral history, I found I appreciated their respect for the commonality we all share with nature and the local wildlife around Calgary. This helped me create the six bridge banners because I could use color, natural light and the power within these stories to create vibrations that I think reflect an energy that highlights the realities of life that we all share,” said Yee.
The new banners will be installed on seven bridges leading into the downtown area, including 14 Street (Mewata), Louise (10 Street), Centre Street, Langevin (Edmonton Trail), Inglewood , MacDonald and Zoo bridges.
Each of the banners is a visual interpretation and expression of local First Nations' myths and their relationship to Calgary and area. The combination of colors and imagery represent the transformation of elements and seasons through the cycle of life, death and rebirth.
Calgary: "Moll-inistsis-in-aka-apewis" in Blackfoot, which literally means "elbow" - where the Elbow and Bow Rivers meet and form an "L"
Old Man: A fun campfire story about the adventures of roasting squirrels and how birch trees got their markings.
Deer Lady: The story varies, but in this case reminds one not to be enchanted by desires causing one to lose sight of their purpose.
iinisskim: Interesting beliefs were created in hopes to rekindle a depleted, over-hunted buffalo population. One being iinisskim, an ammonite fossil called a "buffalo stone" and another in the form of sacred dance performed wearing a buffalo headdress.
Tricksters: Calgary's winters are synonymous with extreme: one day it's biting cold; the next day a chinook arrives with a warm reprieve. Tricksters from First Nations' tales are just as synonymous to their multi-faceted personalities.
Era of the horse: The legends say, the horse (elk dog) sprung from the waters and transformed the way of life on the Plains.
Banners are replaced annually with a new look and story to welcome people to the downtown area.
The banner program is funded through both the Downtown Improvement Fund and the Public Art Program.