Sunwapta totem pole nearly restored
A historic CTV Edmonton landmark that was almost thrown out may soon be on display at the Royal Alberta Museum.
An old Sunwapta Totem Pole that was rescued by current and former CTV Edmonton employees last year and has now been nearly restored by the grandson of the original carver.
"He is the one who got me inspired to do woodcarving," Cody Mathias said of his grandfather, Chief Mathias Joe.
This will be the seventh time Cody has worked to restore one of his grandfather's carvings.
"We learned from him that the painting had way more meaning than we ever imagined," Museum curator Cathy Roy said.
"That it would be entirely inappropriate for us to have a conservator paint it when he was available, because he said it's bringing it to life."
Cody has been working with his nephew to restore the totem.
"The fact that uncle has chosen me to be his apprentice and work with this means so much to me because it shows I'm capable of continuing on our traditional work," George Stokes said.
Cody said the restoration work on the totem was done by hand.
"No power tools or nothing, no sandpaper, it's all knife finish," he explained.
The art piece had been tucked away in a warehouse for years before it was discovered.
"We didn't know what we'd encounter as the layers came off," Conservator Jenika Sobolewska said.
Roy said they were not sure when it would be available for the public to see.
"It's the tallest object in our Western Canadian history collection and it doesn't fit in our exhibit space here," she explained, "So it's going to need a new facility to display it in."
With files from David Ewasuk