Kelly Everill has returned to where it all began.
Twenty-one years after producing the iconic Lake Trail School lion cub, Everill is back at it, designing a pair of murals for the interior of the newly designed Lake Trail Middle School.
Everill’s original lion cub mural was the first one she had ever designed for a school.
Now her work can be seen in most elementary and secondary schools in the Comox Valley.
“The little lion cub was the first one I ever did; it was done on six pieces of 4×8 plywood. It was put up outside in 2000,” she said Tuesday, while putting the finishing touches on one of the new murals.
The new murals have an Indigenous theme.
“The principal wanted to honour the land that we are on, because it is definitely Indigenous land, and he wanted to be respectful and honour that, and to teach the children coming into the school as well, the heritage and history of this land,” said Everill.
While the creations are hers, she received guidance from K’omoks First Nation member, and Hereditary Chief, Rob Everson.
“Rob took a look at my first designs and steered me in the right direction. Originally I had the chief wearing the feathers and the silhouette and all that and he explained to me that ‘we really didn’t do that. We had the longhouses, we had the cedar hats, those are the things we had.’ So I changed all that to go along with the local native culture.”
Everill said the murals are designed in a generic fashion, to represent the different bands of the area.
The larger of the two murals will be mounted above the stage in the new drama room.
“That one, they didn’t really have any direction other than they wanted to have a native feel to it, and include a cougar,” said Everill. “So I came up with the idea of putting a cougar on the rock (in front of) the moon with the West Coast native-style design… it’s not really anyone’s moon in particular – just a native ‘style.’ I didn’t copy anyone’s work or anything.”
The second mural, which has already been hung, is at the main entrance to the new building.
“I matched the wood on the ceiling, so it would look like one piece of wood, then did an opening with a beautiful sunrise, with colours to match the colour of the new school, with the person wearing a cedar hat, sitting there drumming.”
The sides of the mural show the cedar trees, stripped in the fashion they were done to supply the material for the cedar hats.
Everill, who has been a full-time artist for 25 years, also recently completed the mural on the outside wall of Brooklyn Elementary, in Comox.
“I’ve got (murals) in just about all the schools in the community now – usually multiple murals in each school,” said Everill. “Isfeld I did all their gym work, with the icicles and the polar bear breaking through. Highland, I did theirs, because I graduated from Highland in 1983. So I did both of the murals in the gym there.”
Everill’s work can also be seen in Kelowna, Vancouver, and throughout Vancouver Island.