The Northern Sea Wolf is currently undergoing major renovations at the Esquimalt Dry Dock

BC Ferries issues call for First Nations artists for Northern Sea Wolf

A First Nations artist will be chosen to create the artwork for inside the Northern Sea Wolf vessel

BC Ferries says a First Nations artist will be commissioned to create the artwork that will adorn the interior of the new Northern Sea Wolf vessel. A First Nations writer will also be commissioned to write the original text to go with it.

BC Ferries is partnering with the First Peoples’ Cultural Council (FPCC) to facilitate the project, and Expressions of Interest are now being accepted until January 22, 2018.

The release states that “BC Ferries wishes to have the vessel reflect the character and life of the waters it will travers by commissioning design work, and text from Indigenous artists affiliated with the First Nations who have lived for millennia at each of the departure points. To assist BC Ferries with their plan to identify and engage with the artists and writers, the First Peoples’ Cultural Council will facilitate these commissions, from one writer and one visual artist. The selected artists and writers will be affiliated with each of the departure/landing points for the Northern Sea Wolf run.”

Expressions are invited from the Nuxalk Nation, the Gwa’sala-Nakwaxda’xw Band, the Kwakiutl First Nation at Port Hardy, and the Heiltsuk Nation at Bella Bella. The invitation includes visual artists working in any art form that can translate to digital images and writers who can share a profile of their people and the Sea Wolf being.

Selection will take place through a two-step process. A committee will shortlist up to four visual artists and four from these submissions who will be commissioned to develop specific design concepts and detailed text outlines. From these proposals, the final two participants (one artist and one writer) will be selected to work toward final refinement/edits, fabrication and application. The final artist will be paid $10,000 and the writer will be paid $2,500.

In addition to the artwork, the Northern Sea Wolf will also undergo a major refit to the tune of $20 million at the Esquimalt Drydock. The first contract worth $2 million will go towards underwater components and the remaining $18 million will be used for interior and safety upgrades.

“Esquimalt Drydock is pleased and proud to be awarded the contract to refit the Northern Sea Wolf for BC Ferries,” said Joe Sansalone, General Manager of Esquimalt Drydock Company. “This project will take approximately four months to complete with a peak workforce of 100 personnel of all trades.”

The refit will include interior and exterior painting, installing new generators and updating crew and passenger areas. The work will begin later this month and will be completed by April 2018.

“This major upgrade will provide significant enhancements to the customer amenities and the vessel will undoubtedly be a very welcome addition to our fleet as it travels from northern Vancouver Island to the mid-coast starting next summer,” said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Strategy and Community Engagement.

The Northern Sea Wolf will work the route between Port Hardy and Bella Coola. It can accommodate 35 vehicles and 150 passengers and crew.

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