The husband-and-wife team of Edwin and Veronica Dam de Nogales were approached by city officials earlier this year to create a bronze monument to an image known as Wait for me, Daddy.
The photo was captured 73 years ago near the intersection of 8th and Columbia streets, and depicts a young boy breaking free from his mother’s grasp and reaching for his father, a serviceman in the B.C. Regiment, as he marched down the road.
It has since become one of the most famous photographs in Canadian history.
Though details are scarce, the memorial will consist of three bronze figures, representing the father, mother and boy in the photo, and will be placed close to the exact spot the photo was taken in October 2014.
The artists — who have a studio in Ontario but opted to cast the statues at their Barcelona studio, where they have the appropriate tools available for working with bronze — provided CBC News with a sneak peak at the emerging figures over Skype.
“This is the first time that we have had this sort of challenge, where you’re bringing the three dimensional into the relief work and trying to display that in a way that still pays due homage to the original photograph,” says Edwin.
Despite their willingness to talk about their progress, the Dam de Nogales’ were skittish about giving too many details away.
“We don’t want to show the piece as a whole yet — how it’s going to be when it’s finished,” says Veronica.
Instead, they revealed “a couple heads” and “some of the detail work in the uniform, wrinkles and stuff.”
Warren 'Whitey' Bernard, the little boy in the photograph, now lives in Tofino, B.C. He says he’s extremely pleased that a moment in his life is about to become a statement on war, and its effects on family, for everyone to consider.
“Well, I think they’re immortalizing the picture more than they’re immortalizing me. The whole is there and it wasn’t posed. It happened just like you see it,” Bernard told CBC News.
Once the bronze portions of the monument are completed in Spain, the other elements will be added at their Canadian studio. The pieces will only come together shortly before the statue is scheduled to be unveiled next year.
The most difficult challenge, the artist pair says, will be to create a piece that’s as powerful in a new era as the photograph was in another, a long time ago.
“We feel honoured in the sense that we get to inundate ourselves in some of this history and become a little part of it, and leave a little bit behind as they all did too,” says Edwin.