Father Pandosy Mission 150th Anniversary Commemorative Sculpture

The sculpture is located at the Father Pandosy Mission, 3685 Benvoulin Rd.

The Work

The sculpture features a relief of the Four Food Chiefs of the Okanagan/Syilx people: Black Bear, Salmon, Bitterroot, and Saskatoon. The relief also includes Syilx Spiritual Guide, Coyote. This relief was created through communication with Westbank First Nation, and is intended to encourage awareness and contemplation of Syilx culture, and the impact settlement has had on it.

The artist says the 2m tall statue is intended to “stand for generations to publicly inspire awareness and contemplation regarding Okanagan Valley history, both of Euro-Canadian and Okanagan First Nation/Syilx. It will enhance a sense of local identity and encourage us to consider how circumstances in our Valley came to be so.”

The Project

2010 marked the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the first Euro-Canadian settlement in the Okanagan Valley. Established by Father Charles Pandosy, a French Oblate, the Pandosy Mission attracted many settlers to the area. It was a progressive agricultural model notable for introducing several approaches to crop-growing including many of the fruit trees that are predominant in the Central Okanagan today. The Mission site is on the City of Kelowna Heritage Register as well as the Canadian Register (Federal Government) and is a designated provincial heritage site.

The project was conceived by Ms. Przybille who, with the support of the Okanagan Historical Society, designed and fabricated the sculpture. The project began in 2010 when Ms. Przybille met with local agencies and organizations to consolidate support for the project, established a website, and submitted grant applications. In 2011, she completed a full-scale clay sculpture of the artwork, and in December the mould for the final artwork was created. During this time, the project was promoted at events at the Kelowna Art Gallery and the Alternator Gallery, and was profiled in a documentary entitled “Ma Caravane au Canada” which was subsequently aired on Quebec TV5. The work was installed in 2012.

The project budget was $112,500. Funding sources were a Canadian Heritage Legacy Fund Grant from the Federal Government ($49,000), a Central Okanagan Foundation Grant ($10,000); and the Okanagan Mission Residents’ Association ($5,000). The balance of the funding, both cash and in-kind, was raised from private sources and other non-profit organizations. The City of Kelowna Public Art Program contributed $5,000 towards installation. The artwork was subsequently donated to the City of Kelowna.

The Artist

Born in Vernon, B.C., Crystal Przybille holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with Distinction from the University of Victoria. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions in British Columbia, Quebec and the Netherlands, and has completed artist residencies in the Netherlands and Nunavut. Other works by Crystal in Kelowna’s Public Art Collection include Elemental and Illuminature.