Jane Jacobs wrote, “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” That was the thought that came to mind when I first saw Debra Sparrow’s art installation, Blanketing the City, as I walked out of Vancouver Centre skytrain station on the corner of Granville & Georgia.
Having lived in Northern Manitoba where temperatures plunge to frigid depths in winter, blankets became my symbol of safety and family, of belonging and welcome. Listening to the strong winter wind batter my bedroom window, I would draw my blanket closer to me, comforted by the knowledge that I was sheltered from the bitter cold.
Debra Sparrow’s, Blanketing the City, is a profound reminder of the strength of inclusivity that comes when we embrace diversity and seek reconciliation. Together, we can build compassionate communities where all voices are heard.
“The subtitle Blanketing the City in Art and Culture is a concept generously bestowed by Musqueam weaver and graphic designer Debra Sparrow to reflect these Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh lands and waters. In her own work, Debra is dedicated to blanketing the city with the beauty and strength of Salish culture, of which blankets are the foundation.
The subtitle underscores the critical importance of telling the truth about Vancouver’s colonial history and working with the local Nations to address colonial erasure and ensure that their voice and presence are woven throughout Vancouver’s cultural ecology.
It is an inclusive vision illuminating the role culture plays in shaping place and a shared sense of belonging for all people on these Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh lands.