In addition to the official opening of Area 27’s Kartplex on Thursday, owners and members celebrated the installation of a locally crafted steel eagle sculpture at the entrance.
Bill Drossos, president of Area 27, said that since starting the motorsports park project, he along with Osoyoos Indian Band Chief Clarence Louie and the OIB band, have wanted Indigenous art around the facility, similar to Spirit Ridge and the Cultural Centre.
It took time to decide what could represent the area.
In February of 2020, Drossos said the track's grounds superintendent saw a giant shadow on the ground pass from a bird flying overhead while he was working.
“It was the biggest bald eagle he had ever seen and it dropped a coyote, it was actually carrying a coyote. Then it circled down and a smaller eagle joined. 30 minutes later, there were only bits of fur and bones left,” Drossos said.
Drosses said he told Louie about the eagle and they agreed it would make a perfect entrance sculpture.
Clint George, the artist, is from Penticton Indian Band, and Drossos sought him out for the project, wanting a local Indigenous artist to create the work.
He built the 18-foot wide eagle sculpture without any blueprints.
“In this process, there were some changes as I built it. We started laying out some of the feathers, which wasn’t actually really working on the body. So every single one of the feathers on the body is singly cut and welded on separately,” George shared.
George is working on adding lights as another element to the sculpture for nighttime.
VP of Area 27 and Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve said he was impressed when he finally got to see the sculpture in person, adding that pictures never did it justice.
“We see how Area 27 has been evolving. It’s known as a racetrack and now it's becoming much more than that. We wouldn’t be here without the hospitality of the Osoyoos Indian Band,” Villeneuve said.
“Now that we can add local artistry, it’s amazing and it’s a good representation of what Area 27 is.”
Spot the massive eagle structure at the entrance to Area 27.