District Highlights

Laity View Elementary unveils new legacy project mural with Katzie First Nation artist

The library at Laity View Elementary is home to a new mural created by Katzie First Nation artist Rain Pierre in collaboration with students.

The vibrant blue and purple mural features a salmon breaching the water, with silhouettes of mountains, birds and trees set against a night sky with a glowing moon and stars.

“This work is important to me because it’s making change, it’s opening conversation, it’s opening dialogue, but more importantly, it’s spreading love,” Pierre said. “When someone walks in and sees the mural, I want them to feel safe and feel home.”

It’s the first thing you see when you walk into the library, which is considered the central hub – or heart – of the school.

“It is an honour to have this original piece in our school,” said Laity View Elementary vice principal Suzanne Collette. “The mural encourages us to continue learning about local Indigenous cultures as well as to strive to take care of the land around us. Our next steps will involve working with our staff to create curriculum specific to this mural.”

The mural is what Pierre calls a RainAwakens legacy project, where he works with students to create art that represents their school community.

“I want to create artwork that isn’t just mine within schools. I want to have it mean something more than just myself,” he explained. “I want it to mean what the school represents and what the community represents.”

And how he does that, Pierre continued, is by collaborating with youth on the mural and using art as a way to heal and move forward on reconciliation with the next generation.

Work around the Laity View legacy project began in spring 2023 and took a little more than a year to complete.

Salmon artwork by Laity View Elementary Grade 6 student Emily L.

The entire school participated in an art contest, with each class selecting one piece of artwork to submit to Pierre. He reviewed all the submissions and chose two to incorporate in the design: Salmon artwork by Grade 6 student Emily L., and a landscape drawing by Isabelle B., who is in Grade 8.

“I chose the salmon because the salmon is very close to our people as Katzie First Nation. We smoke it, we fish it, and we eat it in so many different ways,” Pierre explained. “I grew up on it and I wanted to show that homage or tribute to our people.”

At the same time, the scenery in Isabelle’s drawing reminded Pierre of Pitt Lake.

“Pitt Lake is where our ancestral territory is and Katzie is originally from there,” he said.

He merged the two designs with his own ideas and came up with the art for the piece. The mural was installed in the Laity View library in April 2024.

Landscape drawing by Isabelle B., who is in Grade 8 at Laity View Elementary.

Pierre hopes the legacy project inspires students to follow their dreams and do what makes them happy.

“If there’s anything that I can leave with people through my work, [it’s] don’t give up on your dreams and who you could be in this world,” Pierre said, using himself as an example.

“I’m from this tiny little island called Barnston Island and now I’m taking global platforms and reaching the world with my artwork, and you can do it too.”

Mural by Katzie First Nation artist Rain Pierre in the Laity View Elementary library.

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