Sculpture donation a tribute to beloved son

The Salish Sea sculpture adjacent to Oak Bay Marina draws Jocelyn Floyer, reminding her of her late son, Russell Ney

Oak Bay resident Jocelyn Floyer made a significant contribution – in honour of her late son Russell Ney – to help the district purchase the Salish Sea sculpture that adorns Turkey Head near the Oak Bay Marina.

The Salish Sea sculpture adjacent to Oak Bay Marina speaks to Jocelyn Floyer. It harkens back to memories of her late son Russell Ney.

Floyer discovered the sculpture while lunching with daughter Tara Ney, who is also an Oak Bay council member.

“She so quickly got what this meant,” Ney says. “It just went deep into her soul what this piece of art was trying to do.”

Floyer always held a fascination with the First Nations of our province and as a youngster visited the museum. Then based east of the legislative buildings, it boasted a basement full of aboriginal items.

“I was just drawn, and I was the only person who went down there,” Floyer recalls. Frequent sitings in her James Bay neighbourhood of Emily Carr and her menagerie also strengthened that interest.

“They’re so connected to their environment, and that’s what this piece does,” Floyer says. “You become connected to the earth, the sky, the water.”

For Floyer, who now lives in Oak Bay, the Salish Sea sculpture by Coast Salish artist Chris Paul connects her to Russell, who died in 2004 of a heart attack. He was 38.

“[Salish Sea] is so him. He was so special. Every time I look at that [sculpture] he comes through,” she says.

Floyer adopted Russell at five months old, during the controversial “’60s scoop,” in which First Nations children were removed from their aboriginal homes. She’d had a miscarriage and simply “had the room.”

“He brought the First Nations energy with him, that connection to the earth,” Floyer says. “We were so lucky to have him.”

“He could sit in chaos and observe and just be present,” added sister Monique Ney.

Russell found his first family and reconnected with them eight years before his death.

“He did find his birth family too, and went back to visit traditional lands,” Monique said.

In Russell’s honour, Floyer donated $5,000 toward the bid to make the Salish Sea Oak Bay’s first publicly-owned piece of fine art.

“That sculpture is really like a metaphor for where we are moving forward with aFirst Nations,” said Barbara Adams, arts laureate for Oak Bay.

Salish Sea was originally installed as part of a program last summer where artists loaned works to display in Oak Bay.

It was the start of a vision for Adams, and the first piece of publicly owned art would kick off that vision.

She envisions an “art amble” of six art spaces linked by 20 standalone installations.

Earlier this year, Oak Bay council approved the siting where the $24,000 sculpture currently sits, adjacent to Oak Bay Marina, and establish a Public Art Fund within the reserve fund for donations and bequests designated to public art.

Stage 1 involved purchase and replacement of the temporary installation pad with an estimated $28,000 price tag.

Funding today is around $10,000. Stage 2 would include an arts space, featuring a performance area adjacent to the sculpture framed by bench boulders and the sidewalk curving around it with an expected $10,000 budget.

“We want to get Stage 1 done before the rains come,” Adams said. “This is the first fine art installation Oak Bay will own.”

Go online to oakbay.ca/parks-recreation/planned-giving/public-art/public-art-fund to learn more about how to fund Oak Bay public art.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich Peninsula steps into post-pandemic phase

Pending partial re-opening of local schools signals new start

Craft vendors allowed to re-join Goldstream Farmers Market

Dr. Bonnie Henry lightens restrictions, approves non-food items to be sold

Three people sent to hospital following serious crash in View Royal

Incident involved a motorcycle and one vehicle on Sunday afternoon

Tour de Rock alum is newest Oak Bay Police officer

Const. Derek Brand did nine years as volunteer reserve officer

Saanich high school student wins free educational trip through Europe

Beaverbrook Vimy Prize centers on First, Second World War history

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

B.C.’s Central Kootenay region declares state of emergency, issues evacuation orders

The evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Most Read