A Snuneymuxw design house is drawing praise for its achievements in art and design.
The business has been selected to receive the award for Business of the Year in the one-to-two-person enterprise category and is one of 16 indigenous businesses, entrepreneurs, partnerships and community-owned enterprises to be recognized at the gala dinner event, which will be held at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on Monday, Oct. 15.
Ay Lelum – The Good House of Design is run by Aunalee Boyd-Good and her sister Sophia Seward-Good, whose fashions were showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week in March and again in September and at Gallery Merrick’s Commercial Fashion Show in July. Their mother, Sandra Moorhouse-Good, started Ay Ay Mut in the 1990s and is a design mentor with Ay Lelum.
“It’s significant because, being a second-generation family business … and coming out of what our parents did in the time that they did it,” said Boyd-Good. “They didn’t have any recognition or the kind of support that we have, so for us it’s amazing that we’re able to get that kind of recognition within the business community and within the indigenous business community … Our parents were ground-breakers in indigenous business and here we are, we get to take up from where they left off and we have so many resources and we have so much support and so much support from them, so it’s really exciting.”
Art and design is a family affair. The sisters’ brother Joel Good and their father William Good are well-known carvers. The family’s fashion and carved works are currently on display at the Royal B.C. Museum for the TimberWest First Nation Cultural Air Showcase: Reclaimed Culture and Life. The two-week long event runs until Oct. 22 in the museum’s Clifford Carl Hall. Ay Lelum – The Good House of Design fashions are also on sale in the museum’s store.
“That’s a family show where everybody submitted into it as a group,” Boyd-Good said.
In June, Joel and William raised totem poles and a frog symbol they created at Departure Bay. A mask carved by Joel will be installed during an upcoming ceremony at Nanaimo Art Gallery on Saturday, Oct. 13.
The family’s ancestral contribution to sport was also recognized at the recent opening of the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame Indigenous Sports Gallery. According to an account in Hub City: Nanaimo, 1886-1920, by author Jan Peterson, William Good, Boyd-Good’s great-grandfather, was cited at the gallery opening. In 1898 Good competed in a 400-metre race in San Francisco, which he won and set a new world record, but was never awarded his medal when it was discovered he was from the Snuneymuxw First Nation – an action spawned by the racist attitudes toward First Nation peoples of his era.