The City of London and London Arts Council are excited to unveil Owl Family and Bear Family, two new Indigenous tree sculptures located at the entrance of 122 Baseline Road West, affordable housing development.
The tree sculptures were crafted by Indigenous artist, Garrett Nahdee, in collaboration with the City of London’s Public Art and Monument Program and in partnership with the London Arts Council. This initiative is dedicated to fostering environmentally sustainable public art that pays tribute to Indigenous art, culture, and knowledge.
Inspired by Indigenous teachings on the importance family, Owl Family and Bear Family showcase Nahdee’s artistic technique combining chainsaw carving and intricate detailing.
Walpole Island First Nation artist Garrett Nahdee and his family alongside Bear Family.
“In Indigenous belief, owls are the carriers of messages from the spirit world. The message I hope to convey is the importance of family. It’s important to nourish your children’s roots so that they grow and remain strong for their whole life,” says Nahdee, in reference to Owl Family. “Family is so important to spirit; it is our roots and therefore shapes our identity. It’s important to make the very most of the moments we are gifted with each other. Now, as a parent, I have three children, that is the significance of the three baby owls in this piece.”
A close-up photograph of Garrett Nahdee’s Owl Family.
“I was raised by a single mother for most of my childhood years. As a momma bear, she had to feed, care for, and protect her babies all by herself. Because of this, she embodies the courage of the bear as expressed in the seven grandfather teachings. As such, for the Bear Family sculpture, I exaggerated the roots of the tree in significance of the important role of the mother in creating roots for her children,” says Nahdee, in reference to Bear Family. “A child’s foundation is created by the example the parent(s)’ set in their way of living. We must live a good life and show strength and be a good source of nurturance for our children – remembering that the most precious things you can give to a child is your time and attention.”
A close-up photograph of Garrett Nahdee’s Bear Family.
City of London Public Art and Monument Program
The City of London’s Public Art and Monument Program facilitates the creation of public art in London, which bolsters civic pride, provides focal points for community celebration, creates meaningful employment for artists and attracts tourism and investment.
Behind-the-scenes photos of Garrett Nahdee's creation process: