Britco unveils winner of aboriginal design competition

Interior Salish artist Andrew Dexel awarded $20,000 prize

This Thunderbird design was created by Merritt-based artist Andrew Dexel

Britco recently announced the winner of its Aboriginal Design Competition and unveiled its new Aboriginal inspired logo at its Langley office.

The Thunderbird design was created by Merritt-based artist Andrew Dexel, one of British Columbia’s young up-and-coming Aboriginal artists.

In a release, Britco stated that Dexel’s Thunderbird Soaring depicts direction and determination and a focus on the future, values consistent with Britco’s business and long history in B.C.

“The Thunderbird is a benevolent guide and a protector of people,” said Dexel.  “My hope is that Thunderbird Soaring will serve as an inspiration for Britco and the cornerstone of its values as it continues on its exciting journey.”

Dexel, 31, is an emerging artist from the Nlakapmux Nation of the Interior Salish in south-central British Columbia. His traditional name is Enpaauk.

His painting style mixes a free-flowing graffiti style with powerful North West Coast aboriginal design which when combined, creates figurative and abstract images that depict resistance and renewal. His beginnings as a graffiti artist are central to his style and since his switch from walls to canvas in 2005 he has brought the energy of the street into his pieces of art.

In April of this year, Britco invited artists from aboriginal communities across B.C. to design an Aboriginal-inspired design to complement its existing brand and offered a $20,000 prize to the winning artist. In response, Britco received 250 designs from 125 artists from communities from all parts of the province.

“Britco has a long tradition of building partnerships with aboriginal communities – approximately 10 percent of our employees at our modular construction facilities in B.C. are aboriginal,” stated Mike Ridley, President of Britco. “These partnerships have helped define Britco’s corporate culture and we believe that Thunderbird Soaring will help better reflect our corporate heritage.”

The design competition was adjudicated by a blue-ribbon evaluation panel chaired by Hon. Steven Point, OBC former Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.  Other panel members included Tewanee Joseph, Competition Facilitator – former Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Four Host First Nations Secretariat for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, and current CEO of Tewanee Consulting Group; Donia Snow, Executive Director for Aboriginal Relations at BC Hydro; Bob Lof, General Manager, Construction Services for Devon Canada; Greg D’Avignon, President and CEO of the BC Business Council; and Brenda Crabtree, Aboriginal Program Manager at Emily Carr University.

The biggest challenge for the evaluation panel was sorting through 250 pieces of outstanding art and trying to balance the talent of the artists with the imperatives required to ensure that the design could be used commercially by Britco.

Tewanee Joseph, the Facilitator of the evaluation panel, pointed to the exceptional talent of the artists who participated in the competition.

“The evaluation panel was extremely impressed with the quality of the work. The rich Aboriginal art heritage we have in BC was reflected in the work that was reviewed by the panel and that made the selection process extremely challenging.”