Jason originally painted Old Man Mountain with Great Mother Bear, featuring vibrant colours bordered by his trademark black lines, in acrylic on a canvas measuring 16 feet x 22 inches. The painting depicts Jasper National Park’s Old Man Mountain. For its installation in the Edmonton International Airport, the image was scanned and printed to a film applied to the glass wall leading into the US Customs and Border Protection area. The reverse side of the glass wall shows bears looking back.
While Canada is known for its outstanding natural beauty, with vast landscapes that span across the mountains, the prairies, lush forest and water-fronts, few places offer all of the astonishing elements of this country in one province.
Alberta has a diversity of natural terrain—parklands, grasslands, primordial badlands, boreal forests and plains, ancient glaciers, thousands of lakes and rivers, one of the oldest mountain ranges, as well as an ecosystem that supports hundreds of species of wildlife. Jason’s goal was to focus all of that magnificence into each of these images.
As an Aboriginal artist, Jason seeks inspiration from the stories before him. Little is known of the Aboriginal people who travelled near Old Man Mountain for thousands of years. Aboriginal people used the valley corridors and footpaths across the Rockies for more than 9,000 years. Groups of Aboriginal people from both sides of the continental divide met and intermingled here. While many of these descendants today are reconnecting with Jasper National Park, sharing stories and traditions, the spirit of Old Man Mountain was always there, timeless and all-knowing.
In First Nations culture, the bear is seen as a symbol of majesty, freedom and power. The spiritual connections with the bear are intensely strong, making it a brother to the First People, as well as a protector and a mother, whose strong spirit connects both nature and man. Old Man Mountain with Great Mother Bear is meant to remind people as they leave that the kindness, the beauty and the spirit of Alberta will bring them back.