For all of 2020’s extraordinary tales, the legend of the Discovery Island wolf known as Takaya is one that keeps growing.
After seven years living solo between the Songhees’ islands known as Tl’ches (Chatham and Discovery), the male coastal wolf came ashore in January and was captured in the James Bay neighbourhood.
Soon after his release into the wild of west Vancouver Island, he was shot by a hunter. It ended his life but only cemented his status as a modern legend of the West Coast. In May, artist Paul Archer captured Takaya in a wall mural on Broughton Street and then with an even bigger mural on an abandoned building on Discovery Island.
Now Fairfield artist Tanya Bub has built a 150-pound, five-foot-tall driftwood sculpture of Takaya. The sculpture will be on display in The Empress Hotel lobby starting Oct. 1 and will then be part of the upcoming Takaya Lone Wolf Arts Festival in Nootka Court, Oct. 24.
“It started with COVID-19, when I started building more and more driftwood sculptures in my front yard,” said Bub, whose life-size stick man “Arthur Heart” has been on display in front of Gage Gallery on Oak Bay Avenue. “Two more became five which became 10 and once I got noticed it connected me with Cheryl Alexander.”
Alexander is the Ten Mile Point resident who frequented the shores of Tl’ches and captured more photos of Takaya than anyone. It’s because of Alexander’s passion for the wolf that Bub’s sculpture grew so big.
“It’s her sculpture,” Bub said. “It’s for her. I accompanied Cheryl to collect some driftwood from Discovery Island and spent a month to make the giant driftwood portrait.”
Bub careful detailed the sculpture to reflect the animal’s physical characteristics.
“If you look at the sculpture next to a picture of the real one you’ll see that it’s that particular wolf,” Bub said.
The goal, Bub said, is that the sculpture will continue touring art shows and be an ambassador for Takaya’s story.
A smaller Takaya will be part of Bub’s first solo art show coming up at the Gage Gallery in Oak Bay called Creatures Great and Small, Oct. 20 to Nov. 8.
It will feature an assortment of animals including a kid-friendly installation of a “miniature-world version of Dallas Road,” with “whales, boats, little tiny houses, angels, kayaks, and people walking dogs,” Bub said.
It will also have a smaller Takaya howling at the moon on Discovery while Alexander takes a photo.
Bub has also designed a “Communitree” to stand outside the Gage Gallery. It’s a bare tree about seven feet tall and five feet wide made of wire and free of leaves.
“It’s a tree that will be built by the community,” Bub said. “I’m inviting the public to make a leaf and drop it off so I can hang it on the tree.”
It’s a “reverse fall,” Bub said. As leaves fall off real trees, the Communitree will add leaves.
Some classes from Sir James Douglas elementary will make leaves for the tree and Bub is hoping for contributions from all parts of the community.
To contribute a paper leaf, cut it preferably in an oval shape about half the size of a piece of paper and deliver it to Gage Gallery, 2031 Oak Bay Ave., by Oct. 20. Bub will weatherproof the leaves and add them.
“Make an oval of a collage, words, a picture, a drawing, anything,” Bub said.
Also add a contact and Bub will be in touch to confirm the leaf has been hung.