Archival Routes
Public Artwork commissioned by Translink (Vancouver, BC, Canada)
Photo credit: Scott Massey, 2020

“We would like to acknowledge that this artwork is sited on the land of the Coast Salish peoples–Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. The bold line and the drawings on the glass of each bus shelter represent the three transit routes serving Nanaimo Station (bus routes #7 and #25, as well as SkyTrain’s Expo Line). As a method of considering the multiple histories and stories that coexist here and throughout the city, Archival Routes is composed of drawings of archival images on a multitude of paper types, stacked and taped to achieve a layered effect. The artwork takes each transit route and, through drawing, charts a pathway navigating the representations of the land and people present within various civic and community archives. This artwork intends to thoughtfully consider the history of displace peoples and the landscape that once existed. Drawing acts as a way to place renewed importance in the images through observation and representation. The imagery chosen is a collection of moments from this land’s history and recent past, which come together to represent an array of vantage points from which to view heritage, community and historical loss. The aesthetic use of the tape emphasizes the temporality of these histories: how they come to overlap and be moved through new configurations of placemaking.
    Special thanks to Vanessa Campbell from  xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Language and Culture for her work on this project. Archival images were referenced from the following public archives: City of Vancouver Archives, Vancouver Public Library Archives, Musqueam Place Names Archives, Squamish Atlas, New Westminster Archives, Surrey Archives, Heritage Burnaby/City of Burnaby Archives and BCIT Archives.“


Copyright Heather Kai Smith, 2022