Unfortunately, while sitting exposed to the elements, the canoe had fallen into disrepair. Debra Martel, from UBC’s First Nations House of Learning, suddenly became the trustee of a rather large boat that needed extensive, and culturally sensitive, restoration. Associate Dean Rob Kozak agreeed to house the canoe at UBC’s Centre for Advanced Wood Processing (CAWP), during the restoration process. Haida Hereditary Chief and master carver Jim Hart oversaw the repainting and Haida artists Mary Hart (Jim’s daughter, pictured above), Carl Hart (Jim’s son), Brandon Brown, and John Brent Bennet spent several weeks diligently recreating the beautiful painting that was almost lost.
Once the artwork was restored, Lawrence Günther and staff from CAWP, began restoring the wood components. Now, what do you do with a several ton, whale-sized piece of art? Why you hang it in a large atrium, of course. With the help of Forestry’s Dean John Innes, and UBC Building Services, the fully restored canoe is now suspended above inquisitive minds passing through the Forest Sciences Centre. The effect is truly breathtaking. From the flawlessly painted artwork to the immaculate woodwork, the experience and passion with which the canoe was revitalized is evident. The Looplex X was unveiled at a ceremony on November 23 attended by Martine Reid, Don Martin, Jim Hart, and others involved in the restoration. Our hope is that this collective effort will symbolize a renewed understanding and strengthening relationships between UBC and First Nations communities. Sean King, a recent graduate from UBC, documented the restoration of the canoe while a student in our Natural Resources Conservation program.
Winter 2017 issue of Branchlines