Officials unveiled the first piece of public art that will decorate the Rogers Place Winter Garden, a mosaic by an Alberta artist.

Artist Alex Janvier was named as the signature artist for Rogers Place public art in a press conference held Monday at the Winspear Centre.

City officials said he was selected from a prequalified list of Canadian and international artists, to create artwork for Edmonton’s newest public space.

Janvier’s work, called Tsa tsa ke k’e (Iron Foot Place) was unveiled as a painting Monday – but the completed piece will be translated into a 150 square metre tile mosaic that will be inset on the floor of the Winter Garden.

Born in 1935, of Dene Suline and Saulteaux descent – Janvier was sent to the Blue Quillz Indian Residential School near St. Paul at the age of 8. According to Janvier, it was there that his creative instinct was discovered and nurtured, and that served as consolation at that time in his life.

Formal training followed, and he graduated with honours from Calgary’s Alberta College of Art in 1960.

“This spectacular artwork by Alex Janvier will be in Rogers Place, one of the most iconic buildings owned by the City of Edmonton. This is a special way to honour our place on Treaty Six territory and celebrate our rich and shared history,” Mayor Don Iveson said in a press release.

In a statement, Janvier described the inspiration behind his artwork, saying “the painting pays respect to the land area where Edmonton is located, highlighting the colours of beautiful sky, the stories of the area, and clear waters from far away mountains. All roads lead to the area, Edmonton, as it is a central destiny for all who came before, and who came after.”

The City said the total commission for the piece is $700,000, and is one of the largest to date in Edmonton. The mosaic will be one of four major public art pieces in the area – those artists will be selected later in the spring.