Earth Drums, by Carey Newman

Public Art Unveiling:
September 27 and 28

The District of Saanich along with the artist, Carey Newman, will be officially welcoming Earth Drums to Cedar Hill Park on September 27th and 28th. The public is invited to join in a short ceremony to unveil the artwork or attend the community welcome during Culture Days.

Earth Drums was selected through Saanich’s public art competition to commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary. Carey Newman (Hayalthkin’geme) designed Earth Drums to engage people in reconciliation by asking them to change their relationship with the land. The interactive artwork created with three large box drums, allows participants to make music with and for those around them while creating reverberations that resonate into the ground, making music for the earth.

Join us at one of the welcoming events:

Invitation to Unveiling [PDF - 205 KB]

    Date & Time: Friday, September 27, 2019 (3:00 - 4:30 pm)
    Location: Cedar Hill Arts Centre (3220 Cedar Hill Road)
    Meet at Cedar Hill Arts Centre to officially unveil Earth Drums! The welcome and presentations will be followed by a short walk outside to the artwork site. The ceremony includes an opportunity to hear from the artist as well as a unique dedication for Earth Drums by Bradley Dick.

    Date & Time: Saturday, September 28, 2019 (1:00 - 2:30 pm)
    Location: Cedar Hill Arts Centre (3220 Cedar Hill Road)
    This event is part of Culture Days and provides another opportunity to celebrate Earth Drums. The afternoon starts with a Lekwungen Traditional Dancers performance at Cedar Hill Arts Centre. From there, the Lekwungen Traditional Dancers will guide us on a short walk outside to the artwork site. Here visitors are invited to meet artist and interact with the sculpture.

Canada 150 Public Art Competition

Carey Newman’s Earth Drums was the winner of Saanich’s public art competition to commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary. Carey Newman designed the artwork to engage people on their relationships with the land and the Canada 150 commemoration themes of Indigenous reconciliation, the environment, diversity and inclusion and engaging and inspiring youth. The artwork is nearing completion with installation beginning on August 19, 2019.

The Location Map [PDF - 316 KB] identifies the site of the 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. The originally proposed location presented site concerns resulting in a review of alternate location. The new site, located approximately 90 metres west of the original site, maintains the artist’s intent to place the Earth Drums close to nature, creating a space for intentional thinking about our relationship with, and connection to, our environment.

The work will involve the creation of three large scale “box drums.” Each drum will be in the form of a hollow, square, totem like pillar made from red cedar. The three drums will have an interactive, tactile drumming surface and would vary in height and width, with tallest one standing 12 feet tall.  Each drum will have a distinctive design incorporating three elements, one aspect from each of these three concept groups: Past, Present, Future; Elder, Adult, Youth; and Land, Air, Water. 

Thank you to all artists who submitted a proposal.  The process for selecting the winning proposal followed Saanich’s Comprehensive Arts Policy.  In total eleven submissions were received and evaluated by the jury for this public art competition.  The public art jury consisted of three artists, two community members and two Saanich staff members. The budget for the work is $65,000.

Competition Theme

The Official theme for the project was “Canada 150”, which incorporates official Canada 150 themes identified by the federal government: diversity and inclusion; engaging and inspiring youth; our environment; and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

Artist’s Concept

As noted by artist:  “This project engages both the Community Context of being a place that “balances nature conservation and human habitation,” and the Competition Theme of Canada 150, described in the Public Art Proposal Call. It addresses diversity and inclusion through being accessible to all ages, cultures, and abilities. It engages and inspires youth by representing them in the iconography, encouraging their participation, and considering their rights. Through the wider concept of changing our collective relationship with the land, it addresses the environment. Finally, as an artist approaching this through the duality of growing up with First Nations and Settler heritage, it engages reconciliation with Indigenous peoples through the use of Indigenous perspective and iconography.”

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.

Any questions may be directed to the Public Art Coordinator, Planning Department, District of Saanich at or 250-475-5471.