Public Art Unveiling
As the story goes, in 1862 some early European settlers in the Okanagan passed by the underground shelter of an Okanagan/Syilx First Nation member. Resembling a bear emerging from its den, the group shouted out 'Ki?láwna' (pronounced kee-loa-na) a word that was soon adopted by the European settlers as the name for the town we know as Kelowna.
This story telling from times long ago has been captured by Okanagan artist Braden Kiefiuk with his magnificent all metal sculpture commissioned by Argus Properties. Argus President Ted Callahan, whose family has lived in Kelowna for over 40 years, says he wanted something that had an authentic connection with times gone by, "We've placed Braden's monumental sculpture for all to see on our boardwalk at the Hotel Eldorado; a place we imagine these bears once roamed freely in the early days of this town we are all so blessed to live in. When we bought the hotel last year we knew we had taken over an iconic property, rich in the history of Kelowna. We thought the Eldorado Boardwalk was exactly the right place for it."
Braden Kiefiuk devoted endless hours to the project, "I was thrilled to be given a chance to create a sculpture for all to enjoy as an authentic connection to our past. I hope it is a reminder of our place in this 'settlement' we call Kelowna and our responsibility to live in balance as our town grows.
Braden was also commissioned by Argus Properties to create another monumental metal sculpture, this one of a mule deer which were so abundant in Kelowna in the early years, coming down from what is now known as Knox Mountain to forage along Brandt's Creek. The sculpture has been placed on Manhattan Drive near Sunset Drive on the Argus Properties, lands which were a former a CN rail yard.
Ted Callahan says he is hopeful that both sculptures will add to the visual beauty of Kelowna for all residents to enjoy for decades to come, "I believe it is as important to look back from time to time as it is to look forward with vision. It reminds us all where we have come from and prompts us to cherish the bounty that is ours in Kelowna. I want Argus Properties to be part of that awareness and hope these two incredible sculptures will be enjoyed now and for generations to come.
Check out Braden Kiefiuk's other sculptures: www.majesticmetalart.com/