Wings of YXE hopes to spread joy during the pandemic
SASKATOON -- Loch Willy and his daughter Kiara spend hours in their workshop cutting and painting colourful wooden wings.
It’s an idea that began as a fun activity for the single dad and his 14-year-old daughter. Now, the at-home project is being shared with the community.
“The main goal is to spread happiness and to help create a moment for people when they come across them, to maybe capture a picture, share it on Instagram or take a moment to remember a lost loved one,” says Willy.
One of Willy’s latest sets of wings honours Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, something that has special meaning for the Wings of YXE creator.
“As we were making them, my mom informed me I have a cousin who was murdered. It changed how the wings felt for us and the story behind it. It also gave Kiara and I an opportunity to talk about some pretty hard things.”
While some of the wings spark conversations about important social issues, others reflect on memories Willy and his daughter have shared together.
“It brings me closer to my dad and it’s fun. We get a lot of joy out of it, working together, thinking ‘wow’ we created these, and now people are taking photos with them, and we're helping spread that joy to others,” says Kiara.
Willy says the project has been a way for him and his daughter to connect. Some of the more intricate designs take 40 hours to complete.
"It’s a very powerful moment when they first come together because all the work and ideas that have gone in to see it realized. Especially with the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women set. Sometimes you just have to sit down, let emotion wash over you, and look at this beautiful thing you had a hand in creating - it is very special."
Hoping to spread those feelings of happiness and attract more visitors to the downtown area during the pandemic, the Downtown Saskatoon BID has created a physically distant scavenger hunt in partnership with Wings of YXE.
Now until Sept. 30, 15 sets of wings will be displayed throughout downtown Saskatoon. People are being encouraged to take a picture with the wings and share it on social media, to be entered to win prizes and gift cards to local downtown businesses.