Camosun College unveils anniversary logo that celebrates Indigenous name origins
As Camosun College prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2021, the college is launching a unique logo designed by Coast Salish artist and alumnus Dylan Thomas at 50.camosun.ca.
The design of the new logo is deeply rooted in the local Indigenous myths and legends behind the Camosun name.
"I started thinking about the word Camosun which means where two waters meet and are transformed," explains Thomas, who is also the City of Victoria's Indigenous Artist in Residence. "I've been digging into the history of the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations and some of the pre-history of this area as well. That was definitely my baseline foundation for the design."
Featuring two bright-eyed herring swimming in opposite directions, framed by stylised streaks of swirling waters in the distinctive green colours of the college, the logo visually represents the underlying narrative legend of Camossung.
"The explanation of the Camosun legend is that the Transformer, the key figure in Coast Salish mythology, turned the girl Camossung into stone, and told her she had to be protector of the waterways at the Tillicum Narrows," says Thomas. "The herring comes into it because the Protector offered Camossung herring which she liked, and that's the reason why herring are there today."
The Tillicum Narrows on the Gorge waterway is the only reversing rapids in Western Canada.
"I thought the name represented that literal place from the legend where the waters meet and the rapids form under there," explains Thomas. "The word that refers to the language of the Esquimalt and Songhees peoples, Lekwungen, literally means ‘place to smoke herring' which is why it is so important to the story and my design."
Before Camosun College came into being in 1971, the original proposed name was Juan de Fuca College. The Camosun name was chosen at the time due to its association with Fort Victoria, built in 1843 on the site known as Camosun.
Camosun, for Thomas, is a very special place where many of his interests and values intersect.
"I had an excellent experience as a student at Camosun," he says. "And now it's been a wonderful experience working on the logo. I think Camosun is doing a great job really making the local Indigenous peoples feel seen and welcomed and recognised as valuable parts of this area's history. I think that's one of the most important things you can do on the front of reconciliation. If I can play a part in bridging that gap with this logo, I would love that, and I think that's great."
Established in 1971, Camosun is one of the largest colleges in British Columbia with campuses on the Traditional Territories of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples.
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Coast Salish artist and alumnus Dylan Thomas at Tillicum Narrows on the Gorge waterway.
Last updated: November 9, 2020 12:05 pm