After a ferry ride from Seattle to Victoria we decided to head over to the other end of downtown Victoria to see A-5 Pod. This was a pod that lived, and maybe still does, off Vancouver Island and this wall was painted with the individual features of the whales in that pod. The deterioration of the wall is quite apparent in the picture the building is undergoing renovation so it’s a good thing we saw this now as it may not be around for much longer.
Victoria, BC, Canada 130 Feet Long x 7 Stories High In Memory of Robin Morton Dedicated June 20th, 1987
Excerpt from @wylandfoundation on Instagram
Wyland considers Whaling Wall 13 to be one of his most unique murals because it pictures an actual pod of orca whales that live off of Vancouver Island. This particular pod contains 13 orcas knows as the A-5 Pod. The dominant male in the group, A-5, has a large, distinctive six-foot dorsal fin with a nick.
Each member of the pod was painted in its true size with its individual features. The mother of the baby orca in the lower left corner of the mural, for instance, is named Sharky because her dorsal fin looks like that of a shark.
“I worked with the top scientists in the world on this project- Mike Bigg, Graham Ellis and John Ford,” Wyland says. “Mike Bigg is noted as the top orca researcher in the world, and he has been studying these whales and these waters for 30 years. I actually had Mike get up on the scaffolding with me with a piece of chalk and a photograph of each of the whales to help me correct the anatomy of each whale.”
Wyland was particularly pleased that his friend, artist Robert Bateman, who is considered by many to be the world’s leading wildlife artist, flew from his nearby home on Salt Spring Island to dedicate the wall to the city of Victoria. During the ceremony, Bateman looked up and noticed a bald eagle in the painting and said jokingly, “Wyland, I thought we had an agreement-you were going to paint below the ocean, and I was going to paint above. I think you’re starting to take over.”
Wyland included the bald eagle at the request of a native Indian. Wyland took the man up on the scaffolding and painted it in for him…a moment Wyland still recalls with great pride.
**Decaying and faded, wall 13 is still alive for now. As of June 2020, there are plans by the new owners of the building to turn it into a boutique hotel, so the future of the mural may be in jeopardy.
- Posted in: British Columbia