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Meet the wolves of University Drive – TRU Newsroom

Meet the wolves of University Drive – TRU Newsroom

December 8, 2020 at 2:39 am  Education, Kamloops, News

Each forged of hundreds of pieces of hand-cut steel fur, the latest public art installation at TRU’s Kamloops campus is a legacy to the institution’s first 50 years.

These sculptures are the latest to join a growing gallery of public art on the TRU campus, located on the ancestral lands of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc. From afar, each wolf’s silhouette stands alert and poised. Closer up, their features become uniquely cunning and fierce. Meet Mélemst̓ye.

In Secwépemc oral history, the wolf—’Mélemst̓ye’ in local Secwepemctsín dialect—teaches people to hunt and the important qualities a hunter needs to be successful.

The same qualities that make a successful hunter—patience, vigilance, alertness, teamwork and an understanding of the environment, among others—are also important for a successful student. Like the hunter, the student must devise a strategy to reach their end goal.

But to be a good teacher and pass on this knowledge, Mélemst̓ye requires committed students. So it’s fitting that these three wolves join Sk’elép (Coyote), a teacher in his own right, on the TRU campus.

TRU President Brett Fairbairn hopes the community will find some inspiration in this 50th anniversary installation, recognizing a need to celebrate where we’ve been, while acknowledging the difficulties we face today and where we need to go in the future.

“Even though the format for our celebration is different than what we had anticipated, it remains important for TRU to celebrate and reflect upon the past 50 years and the next 50 years ahead. We also acknowledge that Thompson Rivers University is not the first community of researchers, teachers and learners on these lands,” says Fairbairn.

Artist Braden Kiefiuk lives in Armstrong, BC. He uses round rod armatures to sculpt the shapes of his specialty—the iconic animals of North America—and then finishes them with hand-cut and formed pieces of steel that are left unpainted and exposed to the elements. All the hammer marks and welds remain visible in Kiefiuk’s work. He says the TRU wolves use a special Corten steel made to show a full rust patina while never corroding.

“I tried to capture movement and the beautiful yet ominous look of the wolf,” Kiefiuk adds.

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