Earth Drums by Carey Newman (Hayalthkin’geme)

Located at Cedar Hill Park, Saanich's newest permanent public artwork was commissioned through a public art competition to commemorate Canada's 150th anniversary. Artist Carey Newman, who's traditional name is Hayalthkin’geme, designed Earth Drums to engage people in Reconciliation by asking them to change their relationship with the land. Three large “box drums”, intended to be played with the hand, not only invite people to make music with, and for, those around them, but in doing so they create reverberations below human hearing that resonate into the ground, making music of, and for, the earth. View Earth Drums Brochure.

Welcoming Earth Drums to Cedar Hill Park, 2019

The District of Saanich along with artist Carey Newman, officially unveiled Earth Drums to the community on September 27, 2019. The community had the opportunity to meet the artist, hear about his creative process, and learn about the interactive artwork. Yuxwelupton Qwal’ qaxala (Bradley Dick) dedicated a song to the Earth Drums which included the Lək̓ʷəŋən, Nuu-chah-nulth and Kwak'wala languages and was performed on the large box drums. Following the performance, the public was invited to approach, touch and play the drums the drums while feeling the natural texture of the wood and the earth under their feet. An array of tones, rhythms and reverberations of the drums was experienced while the community collectively made music for the land.

Re-recording of the Earth Drums Song, 2023

In 2023, the song for the Earth Drums was re-recorded on site as a
collaboration between creator Yuxwelupton Qwal’ qaxala and
Pacific Opera, as a project within their Civic Engagement Artist Residency.

About the Artist

Carey Newman, whose traditional name is Hayalthkin’geme, is a multidisciplinary artist and fifth generation master carver of the Kwakwaka’wakw, Coast Salish and settler heritage. He has completed many significant projects internationally and locally, including creation of the Witness Blanket, a large scale installation that recognizing the atrocities of the Residential School era, honouring the children and symbolizing ongoing reconciliation.

About the Project Process

  • Canada 150 Anniversary: Permanent Public Art
  • Public Art Competition: Started in 2018

The Canada 150 Public Art Jury included:

  • Three local artists
  • Two community members
  • Two Saanich staff members

The project jury selected the artwork based on the Canada 150 commemoration themes of Indigenous reconciliation, the environment, diversity and inclusion and engaging and inspiring youth.

Location of Earth Drums

The Location Map [PDF - 317 KB] identifies the site of the permanent artwork in Cedar Hill Park, west of the Overflow Parking Lot and in close proximity to the Bowker Creek and the Cedar Hill Recreation and Arts Centre at 3220 Cedar Hill Road. 

Earth Drums Brochure [PDF - 2 MB]