Weaving and Knowledge Sharing with Debra Sparrow & Robyn Sparrow
Debra Sparrow, a Musqueam weaver, searched out a connection to a dormant tradition of Coast Salish weaving which had been sleeping quietly for 82 years. She found a direct connection to Coast Salish wool weaving while speaking with her grandfather about the practice. This sparked an involvement in the revival of Coast Salish weaving that has continued for over 30 years. With her weavings, Sparrow enters into conversations about the narrative of what it means to be a Musqueam person. The Musqueam Village sits alongside the metropolis of Vancouver, British Columbia, and the complexities of this are present when Debra Sparrow speaks on her intentions as an artist. She strikes an elegant balance between honoring the past and embracing the many facets of modern life for a Musqueam person in her weavings, engaging in teaching young weavers in a traditional apprenticeship model and engaging in significant public works in the city of Vancouver, including beginning in 2018 several mural projects across the city titled “Blanketing the City.”
Her work has been exhibited and collected nationally and Internationally, including at The Burke Museum in Seattle, The Smithsonian, The Royal BC Museum, First Nations gallery at Government House in Victoria, The Heard Museum, and the Canadian Museum of History. She was the recipient of the BC Creative Achievement Award for First Nations Art in 2008. Her weavings are a part of the Musqueam Welcome Area of the International Arrivals area, the official welcoming area to Canada. Sparrow engages in design work designing the logo for the Canadian Hockey Teams for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, BC.