Debra Sparrow

Research term: January/ February 2020

Residency: April 3—May 21, 2022

Debra Sparrow was born and raised on the Musqueam Indian Reserve and is self-taught in Salish design and jewellery-making. Her contemporary work combines textile and Salish design into geometric, hand spun blankets and hangings and can be seen in various museums and institutions, including the Vancouver Airport, Museum of Civilizations in Ottawa and the University of British Columbia. Debra designed the logo for the Canadian Men’s Hockey Team for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C. She also continues to work on pieces close to her heart at her home in Musqueam. It is Debra’s hope to educate others about the beauty and integrity of her people’s history through her art. Debra is a highly accomplished weaver, and for over 20 years has played a pivotal role in the ongoing revival of Musqueam weaving.

I never felt like I was learning to be an artist, I felt like I was being taught about who we were. And I started to realize how much we were missing in our community and in our soul, how much we were missing with the assimilation process. And there needed to be a gap closed; I needed to connect with our people.

Debra Sparrow (courtesy of Storyhive: Woven Together)