Ian Lowe, a Royston Coast Salish metal artist gifted this piece he created named Resilience to B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. Photo submitted.

Vancouver Island artist gifts B.C.’s health officer with symbolic hummingbird

A special connection brought the piece to Dr. Bonnie Henry’s desk in Victoria

So much for Ian Lowe in the past few months has come down to timing.

The Royston Coast Salish metal artist began working full time in January on his metal sculptures following 30 years in the welding and fabricating industry.

He primarily works on various commissioned pieces made from high-grade stainless steel but does have some of his work featured in the Butchart Gardens in Victoria. His Sea Otter – Keeper of the Kelp Forest piece is also featured at Land & Sea Brewing Co. in Comox.

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In late March, Lowe began working on a hummingbird and took a break for lunch and to watch the daily COVID-19 briefing from B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

“I started watching and noticed she was wearing a blouse that was covered in (a hummingbird pattern). I thought this was perfect – I need to pay this forward.”

Lowe continued with the piece with the health officer in mind. Once the piece was complete, he was determined to find a way to gift the sculpture to Henry.

“I had tried to phone (local political offices) and took a bunch of different avenues but it’s much harder to get a hold of her then you might imagine. I almost gave up.”

Just as Lowe was re-examining his options, he decided to post a bike for sale on Craigslist. He connected with the buyer who happened to work in North Island – Powell River MP Rachel Blaney’s office who was able to assist him to make the contact.

“It’s like I almost willed it to happen,” he added.

A few weeks after he sent the piece to Victoria he received an email from Henry thanking him.

RELATED: Pandemic brings success to Vancouver Island artist carving COVID masks

“I have the sculpture in my office and look at in wonder every day,” she noted in her emailed reply to him. “It is a bright spot in my day and reminds me of the beauty in the world.”

Lowe said it was just what he expected her to say.

“She’s so down to earth and calm and caring. She touches so many people and has the ability to connect to so many.”

The piece, named Resilience, has a special meaning for the Coast Salish. Lowe said it represents pure love and joy and it is symbolic of those who travel great distances and respond quickly.

For more information about Lowe’s work, visit lowetidedesign.ca

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