Airports are great big, busy, bustling caverns that are (usually) efficient at moving great herds of people through their portals reasonably quickly; ensuring that thousands of pieces of luggage get to their correct destination, or are found by their arriving owners; coordinate the movements of hundred of planes and then filling them up with food, fuel and maintaining onboard hygiene.
Airports also have a reputation for expensive shops, too few car parking spots at exorbitant rates, and uncomfortable seats that passengers need to sit upon for hours because their flight has been delayed.
One thing that airports are not renowned for is as displayers of fine art. That is not the case at Vancouver International Airport where the YVR Art Foundation (YVR is Vancouver International’s three letter airport code) has implemented a Display Case Program, which spotlights works in the domestic and international terminal buildings and departure lounges to millions of travellers.
Artist Bill Reid is a member of the Haida First Nations Native Group, and the YVR Art Foundation has chosen his large sculpture “The Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Jade Canoe” to occupy a prominent place in the airport. If this sculpture looks familiar to Canadians and regular visitors to Canada it is because an image of the sculpture is represented on the Canadian $20 bill.
The YVR Art Foundation plans to continue adding art objects to the airport’s various corridors and has fostered the development of artists by offering art scholarships to First Nations youth.
And for those visitors to British Columbia who are inspired by Bill Reid’s art they can visit the town of Old Masset, on the North Coast of Graham Island, one of the Queen Charlotte Group, which is the site of an ancient Haida village where many of the Haida artisans live and work, and where you can experience traditional Haida life firsthand.