Evann Siebens’s W-E-L-C-O-M-E to PoCo (2019), produced for the City of Port Coquitlam’s Street Banner Program, is a public art project installed on 250 street banners hung in civic squares, major city throughways, and various neighbourhoods of the city. W-E-L-C-O-M-E to PoCo seeks to communicate place and belonging through welcoming gestures and by highlighting the cultural diversity and natural landmarks of PoCo.
W-E-L-C-O-M-E to PoCo consists of a total of fourteen diptychs. Half of the diptychs picture residents of diverse ages and cultural backgrounds. Capturing the cultural and demographic diversity of PoCo, these images speak to the makeup of the community and tell people’s stories. Each person on the street banner gestures “welcome” by spelling out one letter of the word in American Sign Language. The word is also written in English and the person’s native language. On the other side of the diptych is a close up shot of the hand gesture together with the letter it represents. The banners fit together like a puzzle, spelling the word W-E-L-C-O-M-E as one travels down the street or views them in civic squares and parking lots.
The other seven images take the same individuals but place them into a PoCo landscape as silhouettes, where the figure (along with their gesture) is cut out of the landscape, leaving white or brightly coloured negative space. Featuring highly recognizable PoCo landmarks and sites, these images speak to the community’s distinct relationship to the natural world and urban landscapes around them and the histories inscribed in place.
The City of Port Coquitlam’s Street Banner Program invites artists to propose a public artwork that reflects, contemplates, and highlights the community of Port Coquitlam: its people, natural beauty, defining features, and contexts. Street banners are installed for the duration of one year and are accompanied by an artist-led public workshop.
City of Port Coquitlam’s Street Banner Program