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Northern BC-based artist collective recently finished a mural on BVDH
Members of northern BC-based artist collective Raven-Tacuara work on the mural on Bulkley Valley District Hospital. (Marisca Bakker/The Interior News)

The Raven-Tacuara artist collective is group of Indigenous artists from varied backgrounds. They combine talents and experiences to create large scale murals that have been painted on buildings throughout the northwest. There’s even one in Chilliwack.

It all started in 2017 when three artists met working on a mural in Terrace. Facundo Gastiazoro, Amanda Hugon and Travis Herbert enjoyed working together so much that they formed a collective. Stephanie Anderson joined the following year.

The name is humble nod to the Eagle-Condor prophecy of a united First Nations peoples across the Americas. Creating one art piece, on such a large canvas, with four different artists and their ideas isn’t also easy but Anderson said the group works very well together.

“We have so much mutual respect for one another and we have compassion and empathy towards one another,” she said. “The respect that we have for each other allows us to speak openly. When we have disagreements, there’s respect, we talk about it and we always laugh. But it can be tricky because art is it’s an emotional thing to create.”

Mostly recently, they have finished a mural on the outside of the Bulkley Valley Regional Hospital in Smithers.

The art piece depicts two people embracing and has bright colours and a First Nations influence.

“To have a Wet’suwet’en artist, put up art on Wet’suwet’en territory. It’s a statement,” said Anderson, who is Wet’suwet’en herself. “It gives them a sense of reflection of themselves when they walk up and they see that.”

That particular project was in partnership with the Bulkley Valley Arts Council, supported by Wetzin’kwa Community Forest and Northern Health.

With that mural being done on the hospital, the group has completed nine in total.

Gastiazoro said he enjoys painting murals because it public art that everyone can enjoy.

Anderson echoed his love for painting large scale projects.

“A style of artwork like this creates such an emotional impact for people who visit the area. And it gives it a greater sense of place when you walk up to a building like that,” she said.

Separately all four are artists and enjoy different mediums.

Hugon lives in Terrace. She is actively involved in the Northern arts community a member of the board of directors for the the Terrace Art Gallery Association, art instructor, and volunteer.

She was born in the southern part of British Columbia on her ancestral territory of the Coast Salish. She is also Sto:lo and Metis. Her Grandmother is of the Kwikwetlum Nation which is located along the Fraser River, her grandpa is a chief of Cheam in Rosedale, they are known as the “People of the Salmon”.

A contemporary Indigenous artist, Hugon works in many mediums including wood, painting plaster, print making and multi-media installations. She said she works to restore what it means to be a female Indigenous artist while challenging stereotypes and breaking down barriers.

Anderson is from the Laksilyu (small frog) Clan. Her family is from Witset and she currently lives in Terrace.

Her artwork has won regional and national awards and has been shown across B.C. including at the Vancouver airport.

She has been creating artistic works since a young age, and said creativity has been the forefront theme of her life.

“I take care with my artwork to and try to achieve a fine finish as I complete them. I have taken many steps to better myself as a Wet’suwet’en woman and artist over the years including an active cultural participation and enrolling in fine arts programs,” she wrote in her bio.

Gastiazoro is Argentinian born with a Wichi/Lebanese background. Wichi are First Nations peoples of South America. He currently lives in Smithers.

Travis Hebert is a Cree/Metis artist. He currently lives in Witset. He is also an emcee, beat maker, and music producer.

Together, the foursome create unique pieces for everyone to enjoy.

“Art in general is lonely,” said Gastiazoro

“And this is some way of not doing lonely.”

READ MORE: Art meets recreation


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Smithers artist Facundo Gastiazoro stands in front of the Bulkley Valley District Hospital. (Marisca Bakker/The Interior News)
Amanda Hugon in front of the Fletcher Street mural she designed as part of the Raven-Tacuara collective. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress)
The mural on one side of the BV Pool and Rec Centre was finished in 2020. (Marisca Bakker/The Interior News)

Marisca Bakker

About the Author: Marisca Bakker

Marisca was born and raised in Ontario and moved to Smithers almost ten years ago on a one-year contract.
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