British Columbia·Photos

Playful new sculptures find hiding spots on West Kootenay hiking trail

Koots Artist Collective hopes the concrete sculptures will encourage play among families walking the nature trail.

B.C. artists' group created eight sculptures for Kaslo River Trail

Seven childlike sculptures have been installed on the Kaslo River Trail in southeastern B.C. (Submitted by Yvonne Boyd)

Children hiking along the Kaslo River Trail in southeastern B.C. can now play hide-and-seek not only with each other, but with some mythical beings nestled into the woods and rocks.

Eight large reinforced concrete sculptures of playful "Koots" — creations of the artists' imaginations — have been installed by the Koots Artist Collective. 

The reinforced concrete sculptures — seven children playing hide-and-seek and one adult watching over them — are part of the collective's latest outdoor installation project in the Kootenays, called Hide and Seek.

"Most of them are the size of an adult," Yvonne Boyd, one of the three artists of the collective, said to Chris Walker, host of CBC's Daybreak South. "But they're babies."

An adult 'Koot' looks over the children who are playing hide-and-seek. (Submitted by Yvonne Boyd)

Boyd, with her colleagues Christopher Petersen and Spring Shine, together spent over 550 hours designing and building the sculptures. They imagined the sculptures could facilitate interactions between family members, including the elderly.

The collective has created two other installations in the region, namely Castlegar's The Keeper in 2018 and Meadow Creek's Harvest. The first piece was part of the annual Castlegar Sculpture Walk Festival.

The three artists conducted field research on the sites where they planned to install the works.

The Koots Artist Collective hopes the sculptures will encourage interactions between family members. (Submitted by Yvonne Boyd)

"We look at the elements that are there, and try and create something that is representational of that area," Boyd said.

The Koots Artist Collective has also been commissioned by the Village of Slocan to build a sculpture at the head of Slocan Valley Rail Trail. Details are still being discussed. 

This naughty-looking Koot awaits visitors to the Kaslo River Trail. (Submitted by Yvonne Boyd)

The Hide and Seek installation project received $14,000 in funding from the Columbia Basin Trust's public art grant program and more than $2,000 from a crowdfunding campaign initiated by the Koots Artist Collective. 

With files from Daybreak South and Collins Maina