After some delays on the project due to the COVID-19 pandemic, artist Vaughn Warren is back at work on the Let Their Spirit Soar sculpture he has been developing in association with the Skeetchestn Indian Band.
The sculpture is intended to memorialize missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and LBTQ+ individuals.
When Warren began to work on the project again, it became clear to him the wood that was originally going to be used wasn’t going to work.
“Once I got inside of this wood, I discovered some voids and deficiencies,” Warren said, so the decision was made to acquire a new piece of wood for the sculpture.
Both the original wood and new pieces were donated by Gilbert Smith Forest Products.
Once the decision was made to obtain a new piece of wood, it was also decided to move the project to Warren’s workshop behind Kamloops Makerspace in order to streamline the process and minimize any further delays.
The original plan was for the sculpture to be completed in August of this year. Instead, it will likely be completed in late October or early November.
The project began in August of 2019 with collaborations and community participation in the design stage.
Though the workshop behind Makerspace is fenced in, those curious about the sculpture can take a look at the current work in progress.
“I’m very honoured to be asked to carve something and to sculpt something about such a profound issue,” Warren said.
“I was hired for my style and collaboration and community participation with band members of Skeetchestn.”
Warren said he wished there could have been more awareness and conversation around the project and its subject while it was being developed, but the pandemic that has kept most people indoors made that more difficult to accomplish.
“This sculpture will live on through time and do that, but at this time, it’s been very challenging to have press conferences or meetings,” he noted.
When completed, the sculpture will find a home in a central location on the land of the Skeetchestn Indian Band, west of Kamloops, to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and LBTQ+ individuals.