Jason Harris designed two new banners to hang prominently in Ladysmith’s downtown this summer. (Art by Jason Harris, photo courtesy of the Town of Ladysmith)

Jason Harris designed two new banners to hang prominently in Ladysmith’s downtown this summer. (Art by Jason Harris, photo courtesy of the Town of Ladysmith)

Stz’uminus artist to have banners displayed in downtown Ladysmith

Jason Harris developed an interest in carving through his late father

A Stz’uminus artist has designed two new banners to hang prominently in Ladysmith’s downtown this summer.

Jason Harris is an accomplished carver who developed an interest in the traditional craft through his late father.

Harris drew on his inspiration living near the Salish Sea, particularly in his portrayal of an otter searching for its next meal in Sea Searching (Otter). The second banner design by Harris is Hummingbird Season, which is a tribute to the season of spring.

The 2022 theme for the Town of Ladysmith’s Community Banner Program is Community on the Coast. The Parks, Recreation & Culture Advisory Committee and Public Art Banners Selection Committee both endorsed Harris’ submission. Council approved the recommendations by both committees at its March 15 meeting.

The intent of the banner program is to beautify Ladysmith’s downtown core through public art, while at the same time creating opportunities for local artists to showcase their work for all to enjoy, according to the town. The town plans to install the banners in May.

“I grew up in Stz’uminus and became interested in carving through my late father,” reads Hariss’ artist bio on the town website. “He carved all his life and we did a carving course together in Cowichan in 2003 with the late master carver Simon Charlie. My interest in carving slowly grew over the years, but I never thought I would live off my art. I did carving work on and off and my art became my passion as more people started ordering carvings. I’ve made a lot of different kinds of traditional art our people use and am starting to show interest in designing and learning to paint.”

Harris said the Sea Searching (Otter) piece was inspired by a time he was carving and an otter ran under his front deck.

“We live on oceanfront and my thought was ‘oh wow’ this otter is looking for something to eat,” his bio said. “This design is of the otter sinking to the bottom of the ocean through the kelp to find something to eat, such as Manila clams or sea urchin. You can see the bubbles coming from the otter’s mouth as he sinks and he’s holding his tail from tangling in the kelp. The colours are those traditionally used by our people.”

The Hummingbird Season design was inspired by the spring season.

“These hummingbirds are extremely happy for the season of spring. You can notice the colours of red flowers and green grass. There is so much to feed off in spring and these hummingbirds blend with the colour of the season they love,” Harris said.