Two Sturgeons

Atheana Picha

Salish / Kwantlen First Nation

For this piece, I wanted to make two big sturgeons, close to their dimensions in real life. Sturgeons are gentle and slow-moving creatures that live deep in the river. They travel up and down the waterways, and can grow to be quite old. My relatives call them the ‘elders of the river,’ and they look prehistoric. In the centre is a salmon egg, representing the beginning of the journey, with crescents rippling out. All of my sturgeon art is dedicated to the elders in my life. They are generous with their time and teachings. Even the smallest teachings affect me, and help me to grow.

Atheana Picha is a Salish artist from the Kwantlen First Nation, and her grandmother was from Tsartlip. Atheana was given the name Nash’mene’ta’naht by Gerry Oleman from the St’at’imc First Nation, which translates to “Go-getter Woman”. Born in Vancouver, she grew up and works out of Richmond, BC. She is an interdisciplinary artist, working mostly in 2-dimentional media. Atheana has been doing two apprenticeships learning Salish wool weaving with Musqueam weaver Debra Sparrow since 2019, and learning silver engraving, wood carving, and tool making with Squamish artist and educator Aaron Nelson-Moody since 2018. Atheana’s practice is grounded in learning more about Salish design through studying the old pieces, observing nature, and learning from her elders and teachers.

Atheana studied Fine Art at Langara college for three years, with a focus on ceramics, intaglio printmaking, and wood carving. Then in 2021, she focused on screen printing and drawing. She is engaged with public art through her mural work throughout the greater Vancouver area since 2018, and more recently with banner and vinyl mural installations. Atheana is a two-time recipient of the YVR Art Foundation Emerging Artist scholarship, and has works in the collections at the Museum of Vancouver, Burnaby Art Gallery, Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art.

The Lantern City is grateful to be held on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam Indian Band), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish Nation), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation). We acknowledge our privilege to be gathered on this land, and commit to work with and be respectful to the Indigenous peoples whose arts and stories inspire us to bring communities together.