double click small images for larger detailed veiw.
Looking down on Vereinigung in the South Building
Atrium, Grad Show'96.
Visitors to ECIAD's 1996 grad show. will not forget
Connie Watts's massive three-figured plywood sculpture
features a bear, a wolf, and a raven whose 7-foot wingspan threatened to tear loose its
cables and crash through the skylights of the South Building's lofty atrium. Vereinigung
now holds its own among the massive cedar shafts of UBC's Museum of Anthropology,
sharing space with Bill Reid's formidable Raven and The First Men. It is difficult
to imagine, but the crisscrossed strings
Vereinigung turns in upon itself with
meaning, ideas resonating in the spaces between the fragile layers,
and hooks remaining on the ceiling of Watts's small,
tidy East Van apartment bear evidence to the fact that one year ago Vereinigung filled
the room from computer to kitchen with layers of shape and image, freshly oiled and hung
to dry. Connie Watts adapts her art to conform to any space, yet no single niche or
category can contain Connie Watts.
Watts grew up in Campbell River of First Nations
descent: her mother is Nuu-Chah Nulth and Mamalikala and her father Gakxan. she grew up as
"the only brown face" at Evergreen Elementary School in Campbell River, with
exposure to the images or traditions of he culture. But she always "thought
design," r on her acute sense of visual memory an headstrong determination.
Everything s abruptly when, soon after graduating from University of Manitoba in 1991 with
a de interior design, Connie Watts was in a car The crash left her with memory loss and
debilitating headaches. She moved to Los Angeles where she was able to get by with "a
little less upstairs but after two years she found herself unable to design, so in 1993
she came home to Vancouver and to Emily Carr.
Watts enrolled in Industrial Design, but her headaches
returned and she switched into Intermedia. This is what Connie Watts calls "
easing back"-while continuing to create fabulous native-referenced furniture pieces,
she plunged into computer animation and 8mm film, drawing, painting, metal, wood, and
Vereinigung (German for "unification")
represented the culmination of Watts's work at Emily Carr, "bringing together past
and present, humans and animals, space and body, real and abstract kind of self-portrait,
the figures represent f Watts's character-the wolf a fiercely determined hunter, the
bear strong and nurturing, a raven a clever trickster and lover of shiny objects. Each
three-dimensional figure is built from layer upon layer of oiled plywood connected
hundreds of small dowels-over 600 square home for humans surrounded and provided by animal
protectors. Vereinigung turns in upon itself with meaning, ideas resonating in the
spaces between the fragile layers.
Watts blurs the line between art and design, melding the
aesthetic with the pragmatic. "Everything is a circle," says Watts. "In
school I learned about 'form and function', the very Western approach, but when I turn
back to my own culture, I use form to delineate space, then I circle back again ... we
used to have huge pieces of wood to carve out light and shadow, but now we use what is
left plywood. We use what should be precious and beautiful for all the wrong reasons. In
Port Alberni they grind up trees to make plywood for row houses. So I use the plywood to
make art ... it's all a veneer," she laughs, savoring the pun.
Watts is thrilled to be rediscovering her culture and
reclaiming her own language through her art. The ancestral language of her grandmother,
NuuChah-Nulth, had been nearly erased through a generation when "you got hit for
speaking your own language." Then, two years ago, her mother took a teaching job at
the Ha-Ho-Payuk School in Port Alberni, where children are learning the traditions and
language of their ancestors. But the Nuu-Chah-Nuith tongue is based in an oral tradition
and the only written teaching aids were a handful of photocopied booklets transcribed into
international phonetic symbols. The elder Watts called on her versatile daughter for
help. "In her spare time," Connie plunged into yet another medium, designing
picture-books to teach and reclaim the near-forgotten language. Working side by side with
illustrators, teachers, and linguists, Watts completed Huksaa: The Nuu-Chah-Nulth
Counting Book and the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Phonetic Alphabet. The books are bright
and whimsical jewels, full of delicious illustrations enhanced by Watts's
razor-sharp-design sense and- her raven's cheeky humor. And to top it all off,
Watts designed the books using only two ink colors from which she somehow coaxed an entire range
of rich values-a technical feat which has seasoned graphic designers awestruck.
These days Connie Watts spends a lot of time on the
ferry, shuttling back and forth between Vancouver and Port Alberni where she's working on
two more language books. She's also working out ideas for an animated film of Raven, Bear,
and Wolf, and a drawing for her sister's wedding in which a bold and playful sun enfolds
two men, two women, and four salmon. And she's designing the wedding dress. She's feeling
stronger every day, her "head coming back," energy radiating in all directions.
For all this restless spirit she has her grandma to thank, "who said 'never stop
dreaming!' She's 83, and she still gets out there in the garden with the roto-tiller.
That's my West Coast upbringing, I can't stop at one thing, I have to just keep on
am of First Nations descent. My mother, Jane Watts-Jones, is Tseshaht
(Nuu-Chah-Nulth) & Mamalilikla (Kwakwaka'wakwa). My father was
from the Gitxsan nation. I
grew up in Campbell River.
graduated in 1996 from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design with
a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Intermedia.
I also have a Bachelor of Interior Design (1991) from the
University of Manitoba.
Spring 2001, I exhibited in a duel show, Full Moon l
New Moon, at the Indian Arts Centre, Ottawa.
I have shown at the Concourse Gallery (Emily Carr Institute of
Art and Design) in two shows: Philosophic
Chair and Table of Content; and Here and Now, First Peoples
I was in Raven’s Reprise (2001)
and various individual exhibits
at the Museum of Anthropology (UBC—Vancouver).
I was included in the Spirit Wrestler Gallery’s (Vancouver)
Show Fusion, and continue to show my work at the Stonington
Gallery (Seattle), and Quintana Galleries (Portland).
In 1997, I completed an artist’s residence at the McMichael
Canadian Art Collection Museum (Kleinburg, Ontario).
I received awards and grants for my computer animation, “Witness”,
from the Vancouver Foundation and the Canada Arts Council.
have continued to do commissioned work for various collectors. One of
the most recent commissions included the completion and installation
of a large Thunderbird sculpture, "Hetux", for the Vancouver
Size: 1st of 5
(edition of 6), including one artist proof: the artist proof
and the second of the edition have sold to private collectors, one in
Vancouver and one in Seattle.
30” x 54” x 16”
Aluminium, Alder, & Baltic Birch.
seals, a sun, a moon, and two hummingbirds.
design is made for exploration: to see all the images you literally
have to move all the way around the work.
The chosen objects reinforce the qualities of being curious:
the three seals are naturally curious; the sun/moon designs create the
ebb and flow of the action of being curious; and the sun-hummingbird
and moon-hummingbird hold the enduring energy of curiosity.
The variety of material, the curvilinear lines, and
compartmentalized design exemplify the character of curiosity.
One of a
Dimensions: 1’1/4” x 1’4” x 3’0”
Powder coated Aluminium & Mahogany.
of the killer whale, a yellow eagle, three seals (one blue and two
red), two green bears, a purple wolf, a blue raven, a silver salmon,
and a moon.
Play was part of the Show, Full
New Moon 2001. Play is inclusive of everyone.
Play is postured in the massive strength of the killer
whale; this intertribal montage of animals stands as a reminder that
‘playtime’ is an elemental part of our life that makes us feel
good and heightens the quality of our lives.
The animals’ playfulness is represented in their postures and
expressions. The animals
heads are emphasises as a point where invention and imagination
start—good play is well thought out and leads to discovery.
are two contrasting sides: Side A—blue raven, aluminium moon, green
bear, purple wolf, red hummingbird, and red seal; Side B—yellow
eagle, aluminium salmon, red seal, blue seal, green hummingbird, and
green bear. One of the
animals from either side is switched in the tail and the hummingbirds
are the constants on both sides but are contrasted using complementary
of a Kind
1’6” x 3’0” x 2’8” (5’0” when open)
Cherry, Baltic birch & Glass.
abstractions of the
animals used in the other sculptures in the series.
abstracts part of all the other works in the series (the majority of
the series exhibited in Full
New Moon 2001) with a twist of humour and triumph.
It looks like a table; shapes are hidden inside and you can
only see colours through the glass windows on the side.
The table actually opens to reveal step like drawers.
Once the table splits open, Play is revealed. When you begin to open the drawers, the elements of other
works and their northwest coast-like script written titles are
revealed—elements now become building blocks for language.
Ha! is centred on two basic philosophical statements
that remind us in life to be sweet and fly free:
Remember Play. Why? Think, Feel, See, Fly Free.” And
Remember Play. Why? Think, Feel, Smell, Be Sweet.”
draws on the emotions, senses and curiosity of the observer.
You have to interact with the work in order to see it all—in
life you can’t really understand if you don’t interact, intermix,
mingle…play. It teases
your mind with the unusual; the windows allow you to see what’s in
the drawer but the drawer doesn’t let you get at its contents as
easily as the windows let you see it.
of a Kind
2’2 3/4” x 2’7 1/4” x 6’3”
Red cedar, Tiger wood, Stainless steel, Baltic birch, Mahogany &
Powder coated Aluminium.
Six blue moons, six
red hummingbirds, a yellow thunderbird, a red wolf, a blue killer
whale, a red eagle, a blue beaver, a green frog, a green raven, a
yellow woman, and a red bear.
Remember was part of the Show Full
New Moon 2001. Remember
is recollection based—it’s reflective of family bonds
and childhood memories. Remember exemplifies on each of the
three main panels the personality traits of my mother, my maternal
grandmother, and myself. My
Grandmother is the thunderbird, wolf and killer whale; my mother is
the eagle, beaver and frog, and I am the raven, woman and bear.
The materials, colour,
and composition reinforce these individual personalities.
It is an
invitation to remember and celebrate Northwest Coast artwork and
lifestyle—vibrant, inventive, strong, pure, complex and intriguing.
The first panel obscures the animals in the three panelled
sides, and the stainless steel mesh wraps around the palms of the
hands cloaking these designs. In
the palm of the hands the hummingbirds symbolize creativity and
energy, and the moon reflects serenity and harmony.
The three personalities work in harmony to balance the piece.
" Fly "
of a Kind
7 1/2” x 2’0” x 3’1 1/2”
Mahogany, Powder coated aluminium & Marble.
Two red eagles, a
blue moon, two yellow suns, and four blue hummingbirds (two on each
Fly was part of the Show Full
New Moon 2001. Fly is
dedicated to the young talented director/writer, Zoe. It was
her fiery, determined, creative personality that was my inspiration
for the sculpture. Its
weighted base is the inception of individual creative conceptualizing,
reinforced by the internalizing emotional moon and the knowledgeable,
egotistical eagle. The
movement of the piece flies up and out as an expression of the
creation of what has been imaged in the base, the action of completion
of any creative act. Again,
this movement is reflected in the chosen images: the light fiery
powerful sun and the energetic, creative, dexterous hummingbird.
The flyer is grounded and dense yet as the flyer gains altitude
it portrays the notion that it is uninhibited and weightless. To fly
takes determination and strength.
of a Kind
Dim: 30” x
22” x 36”
Aluminium, Maple, and Fabric.
A silver Raven.
The stage is set
for the beautiful creatures to show themselves. The Baroque Bear, the Whimsical Wolf, and the Radiant Raven
are placed on pedestals with their bright costumes streaming from
their magnificent shiny bodies. The
First Nations’ customary richly historic potlatches used to document
historical happenings through dramatic performances are merged with
the more southern carnival costumes.
conceived these works, the Radiant Raven, Whimsical Wolf and Baroque
Bear, I felt the need to have some fun with the Northwest Coast
design—to play dress-up. The carnival is instantaneously full of life, with new
‘rules’ emerging every minute.
This continuous flow of energy is what I wanted to infuse into
our often over justified Northwest coast animals.
No mythical stories attached, a free-form interpretation of
each of the animals, through layered metal materials poised on painted
patterned maple planks. There
are subtle First Nations’ political struggles inferred in each of
the pieces—solitude & isolation (the stage setting),
superficiality (the naming of the work by the animal it is showing),
and ignorance towards the totality of our culture (the performance
setting). Even with these
underlying political and personal implications, the Bear, Wolf and
Raven are alive now, performing on their own individual stage in front
of their backdrop, posing themselves to do their one performance of a
of a Kind
Dim: 36” x
64” x 8”
Material: Brass, Maple wood.
One brass wolf.
See the Radiant
Size: 1st of 10
(edition of 11), including one artist proof: the artist proof
have sold to private collectors in San Francisco.
Dim: 30” x 56”
Black walnut, Baltic birch, Glass and Metal tacks.
Two killer whales
and two suns.
Incorporation stands for the structure of
business. The design and
imagery was chosen to reinforce the qualities of a business: the
double killer whales are the strength and movement of the business,
the two suns are the force and energy needed for a business to thrive,
and the rectilinear design creates the structured foundation for which
the business will develop and strengthen.
of a Kind
Overall Dim: 12' x
12’ x 12'
Birch Plywood and hardwood dowelings
A bear, a wolf, a
raven, four women, a man, and a girl
Vereinigung is majestic, intricate and
multi-dimensional, reflecting our surroundings in British Columbia and
the Northwest Coast First Nations culture.
It brings together past and present, human and animals, space
and body, real and abstract.
juxtaposes the concrete and majestic to the fluid and minute,
exemplified by the play between positive and negative space.
It reflects the constant, changing and demanding environment.
The freestanding animals are solid and grand, but their
positioning brings them to life.
The unity of
past to present is seen in the marriage of the traditional Northwest
Coast form to a contemporary material and method.
The birch plywood is cut into the Northwest Coast forms then
suspended from a fret system of hardwood dowelings that originate on
the solid centre plywood sections.
This balance of past and present can also be seen in the
content of the piece. First
Nation people used a family crest.
This family crest usually encompassed the personality of the
family. Today, since we
are so separated, this piece represents my personality rather than the
entire family. The Wolf
is the hunter. He gives
me the strength and will to overcome barriers that may seem
impossible. He is a handsomely fierce creature who deters others from
getting in close, but with his own pack he is abundantly loyal.
The Bear is the protector. She can be gentle, loving, patient,
relaxed, protective and demanding. She gives me my compassion and the
willingness to find balance in complete opposites.
The Raven is the trickster.
She is always being taught lessons, and thus she is a quick
learner. She loves
objects, especially shiny ones. She is the thinking behind everything
between humans and animals is formed by the placement of the human
figures inside the large animal figures.
The inside of the bear houses two women; the wolf has a man, a
woman and a child; and the raven holds on woman.
The balancing of the human figures to the outside animal
structural interpretations enhances this interrelationship of human
the name? Vereinigung
means unification in German. The
word reflects the unity and respect the First Nations had for the life
around us. It also represents my absence of my native tongue, due to the
neglect of our languages in the schooling system, and my background in
the languages of German and French.
of a Kind
Dim: 21' x 17’ x
Baltic birch, and Blue Powder Coated Aluminium.
A thunderbird with
lightening snakes, two wolves, a wren, two salmon, two moons, two
hummingbirds, and a sun.
The Thunderbird is the keeper of the sky.
When he opens his eyes, the sun shines.
When he ruffles his feathers, the wind blows.
When he waves his great wings, lightning flashes, and when his
wings slap together, thunder sounds.
This Thunderbird is my grandmother: “Hetux” (which means
daughter in Nuu-chah-nulth).
lifetime my grandmother has been my mentor.
She is well respected. She
has wholeheartedly taken care of her family.
Her determination, creativity and generosity have always set a
precedent for me to follow. For
these reasons, I have moulded this thunderbird from the personality
of my grandmother. And
have respectfully named it after her: “Hetux”.
conception of Hetux began from the traditional historic First
Nations means of identifying families and lineage.
The images in totem poles, button blankets and family crests
carried the stories and lineage of our families.
I have taken this concept and applied it to the individual.
I see emerging from their personality these primary animals,
plants and forces (the sun, moon, wind, etc.).
I have completed a number of compositional sketches of
individuals, before I began conceptualizing for Hetux.
The dominating image in the piece reflects the dominance of the
animal, plant, or force in the individual.
Thunderbird, together with all the other creatures, is my grandmother.
The Thunderbird’s strength and boundless creative energy is
dominant. The wolves
(intensity and determination) on either side of the body are her
stature. The male and
female salmon on the belly reflect her generosity and prosperity.
The hummingbird (joy and energy) and moon (intuition and
perceptiveness) on the wing are her actions and interpretations.
The sun (logic and power) on the tail is her guidance.
The small wren (magic and fortuity) on the neck is ever
are stained Baltic birch and powder coated aluminium.
The wood and metal combined soft to hard, this too is my
grandmother. The colours
are blue, red and yellow. This
is the primary colour scheme, from which all other colours emerge.
This is also reflective of my grandmother.
First Nations’ names are an integral part of the person’s being.
They are handed down from mother to daughter and father to son.
Once handed down they are not used until the person has passed
on. My sculpture that I
have created is intended to reflect the essence of my grandmother,
which is held within her name: “Hetux”.
Collector, sold by the Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver)
of a Kind
Dim: 48” x
32” x 36”
Stainless steel, Baltic birch and Wool fabric.
The Wolf Table and The Bear Chair, completed
in 1995, were my first functional sculpture pieces—they integrate
traditional forms and meanings with contemporary materials, western
art theory and design. The
Wolf Table, along with the Bear Chair, were my first
explorations with the concept of ‘pulling apart’ Northwest Coast
forms into separated layers.
I wanted to see the forms in the same depth that I saw them in
the older pieces of carved Northwest Coast works.
Looking at the front view of the chair, the bear’s head is in
the backrest, with a raven in his forehead.
The chair’s form creates the bear’s body, with the claws
and a woman’s face in the lower section.
of a Kind
Dim: 48” x 36” x 84”
Copper, Maple Wood and Wool Fabric.
See the Radiant
Indian Arts Centre
of a Kind
Dim: 5’0” x 6’4” x 91/2”
Paper, card, Galvanized wire & mesh, Maple, Spectra
thread, Clay & Acrylic
landscape, a silver raven, a brass wolf, a copper bear, seven coppers,
and seven braids
“Why?” was part of the Show Full Moon l
New Moon 2001. The
purpose of Why? is to intrigue your mind and have you wondering
why! Wire ovoid shapes
cage landscape background, trees, and mountains, wire women hold up
Northwest Coast mesh shapes, and strings suspend animal shapes.
The loose strings are gathered at the bottom and braided, tiny
coppers line the top, and all grows from a red and black background. The interpretation is for the viewer to decide; I consider it
one of my most complex pieces, with meaning and interpretation never
Francisco Collector, sold by the Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver)
See write-up in
Works For Sale
(Artist Proof): Private
Seattle Collector, sold by the Stonington Gallery (Seattle)
(2nd of Series of 5): Private
See write-up in
Works For Sale
"Golden Eagle Table"
Collector: Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Association
of a Kind
Dim: 54” x 30”
Tiger wood, Glass,
Baltic birch, and Brass.
Split Eagle with
Eagle Table was commissioned by SIGA, and was intended for their
casino, Golden Eagle Casino. It
seemed appropriate for a prospering casino to merge the sun for
strength with the knowledgeable eagle.
The form of a diamond and the wings to reflect the movement
upwards was used to strengthen this concept of prosperity and wealth.
Collector: Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Association
One of a Kind
Dim: 52” x
30” x 16”
Baltic birch, mahogany, copper and glass.
A raven, an eagle,
and two hummingbirds.
Crossroads was built to portray friendship.
The eagle and the raven are held in juxtaposition to create a
tension between personalities, but stabilized in the geometric
rectangular form. The two
hummingbirds are added as the energy and the creative drive needed to
maintain a friendship. This
inference of intersection is carried out throughout the design: the
main mahogany supports crossing; the intersecting plates of images;
the mixing of materials; and the opposing positioning of the imagery.
"Monica’s Wedding Dress" (1WorkSold0102)
of a Kind
Gold raw Silk, Gold
Silk mesh, and White Raw Silk.
An eagle, a dear,
two frogs, a loon, a hummingbird, two fireweed plants, seven coppers,
two killer whales, and a thunderbird with the moon.
The wedding dress belongs to my sister, who was married
August 1997. The design
is a union of the historic and the new.
The new is my sister’s portrait (the deer, the eagle, and the
killer whale) and the historic is the presence of my Grandmothers’
(the thunderbird and whale from my mother’s side, and the frogs and
the fireweed from the paternal side).
I also included a high note, the hummingbird, and the base
note, the loon. The
coppers represent wealth and prosperity. There is one large one on the centre back of the train, and
three on either side of the front of the train.
8) "A Marriage" (1WorkSold0102)
of a Kind
x 54”x 1”
White Silk Mesh, Gold Silk Mesh, White Raw Silk, Acetate and Acrylic.
An eagle, two
killer whales, a deer, an osprey, and a big horn sheep.
“A Marriage” was completed for my Sister
Monica’s wedding. It is
a portrait of her and her husband, Allan.
The Deer, the Killer Whale, and the Eagle represent her, with
Allan being the Killer Whale, the Big Horned Sheep, and the Osprey.
"Quest For Knowledge"
Collector: North Island College (Port Alberni)
of a Kind
Dim: 5' x 3’ x
birch, Cedar, Brass, and Aluminium.
A bear, an eagle, a
sun, a moon, and a mountain.
Quest for Knowledge reflects the act of learning
and obtaining information. The
world (the semicircle), contains the knowledgeable, undeterred eagle
and the powerful, intuitive bear poised in an upward gazing stance,
with their centre axis/ foundation created by the brass sun, the
aluminium moon and the cedar mountain.
The work is capturing through the personality traits of these
objects the act of the quest for knowledge.
In a composed personality, the eagle forms the front man, the
part of the personality that will go seek out an idea and share it
with anyone who will listen, the bear is mass that is the self esteem
and the quite researcher that provides all the data and material to
formulate well thought out ideas and concepts, the foundation of the
symbolic mountain creates the strong platform in which to springboard
off of, and the dual forces of the sun and moon provide the energy and
a renewed changing environment. The
piece is hung in the front entrance of the College.
of a Kind
Dim: 36” x
48” x 6”
Paper, card & acrylic.
A green and brown
cedar tree, a silver moon, a gold sun, a red hummingbird, a blue bear,
and a green frog.
A local businessman commissioned “The Inventor”.
He came to me requesting a work for a Hong Kong client for
Chinese New Year. He
described his creative client to me, and I immediately envisioned this
piece and sketched it for him. I
called it, “The Inventor”.
Inventor” envelops the concept of creation.
All the figures have their own depth, but each of the figures
are set at different levels based on their place in the creative act.
The cedar tree and hummingbird are on the upper layer where the actual
objects are formed, the bear on the next layer provides the ground and
strength, and the moon, sun, and frog are on the lower layer where
creative ideas grow and are renewed.
of a Kind
Dim: 4' x 8’ x
Stainless steel mesh.
of a Kind
Dim: 18” x
12” x 30”
Paper, card & acrylic
“Kathy” was completed for the Emily Carr
Aboriginal 1998 Alumni Show, “Here and Now, First Peoples
Perspectives”. Kathy is my younger sister and this is her portrait.
The composition (including thin tissue and heavier paper
mounted on card, contrasting geometric forms, and different coloration
on either side) captures the intricacy of Kathy’s
personality. The animals and colours I have chosen are also indicators of
her personality. The
thunderbird is the strong sense of right and wrong, the dolphin is the
water thinker and intuitive strengths, the hummingbirds are the
creative energy, the moose is the embracing of passive strength, and
the moon the embodiment of feminine traits.
The juxtaposed geometric shapes reflect the creative structured
foundation in which her personality stems from.
Collector—fundraiser for YVR
of a Kind
Dim: 42” x
Acrylic on Cotton Paper
A gold thunderbird, a silver wolf, a copper lynx, a silver sea otter,
a silver moon and the copper land
represent my interpretation of Colin’s personality.
The strong moralistic thunderbird in active flight is the focal
point; the quick, agile lynx is next with the hunting strength of the
unique white wolf holding the two together.
In the background and to the side are the intuitive moon and
the facilitating river otter; these creatures are not as forthright in
his personality. This is
an overview of the picture; the images composition, colour, and stance
are also reflective of his personality.
of a Kind
Dim: 50” x
26” x 16”
Baltic birch, stainless steel and glass
Looking straight down on the table, you can see the wolf
is wrapped around himself, like he is chasing his tail.
Inside the wolf is a woman’s face and hands.
This work was conceived in the same manner as the Bear Chair
and at the same time.
"Steelhead Society Award" (2WorkSold0102)
of a Kind
Dim: 5” x
5” x 12”
Copper and Cherry wood
A sun, a pair of hands, and six salmon
The Steelhead Society approached me with their new award
category: First Nations Leadership in Conservation.
They are a group of scientists/biologists that will go into an
area that has been damaged and use the machinery of the different
large companies to restore and refurbish the countryside.
The award has twelve rings (the river) poised angularly on a
column (the mountain). The
rings contain three sets of salmon, seen as you look down on the
piece. The hands are
holding/guarding the mountain under the soaring sun.
"Celebrating A Special Union I" (2WorkSold0102)
of a Kind
Dim: 50” x
26” x 16”
Red raw silk and blue nylon mesh
Two salmon and the moon
Celebrating a Special Union I uses images that
reflect the act of a couple coming together.
The female and male salmon are caressed in the moons
embrace—a safe place to explore each other’s intimate details. It is the type of emerging love that lasts forever.
shows are in the order I am working.
This is not always constant though, but I would like to see Traditional
Braids completed first. It
has been in conception for over three years and has influenced my work
to date. Don’t touch
is reflective of the displacement of our society, but again I believe
through experimentation of different perspectives and determination to
truly express ourselves we will be able to accurately experience our
pure sense of our culture. What
is it? is more of an individual exploration of ‘artist’, and
the strengths and weaknesses with that categorization.
question of media’s influence on people’s perception of each other
is insurmountable. We can
recognize that documented history is in fact the beginning of this
skewed perception of reality, where the perception of what is being
documented of the happenings is no doubt going to favour the side that
is documenting the event. These
days, the realization of the importance of communication has been
pushed to its limits, with visual documentation being used not only
for political favour, but also monetarily driven.
History moved to Hollywood and has subsequently fragmented not
only in film, but television, magazines, radio, music, papers, and the
numerous numbers of well placed advertisements scattering our visual
Braids” is founded in using this marketing to create new history,
‘a new Hollywood’. The
show is about what history missed, a telling of the history with
contemporary materials and content, an anthropological look at the
First Nations of the Northwest Coast.
It is a platform in which answers to: what do you think their
community hierarchy was? Why do you think there art was formed in this
way? And what do you think the family unit interaction was?
cases, the answers will not be a literal interpretation.
I hope by being as pure to my natural intuitive sense, I will
be able to achieve a reverse logic to justify what I believe to be our
Northwest Coast historical past.
This effort to break away from the western cultural outlook of
what we were has been and will continue to be a passion of mine.
It will be the first time I express it visually.
The show will
ideally be a series of spaces, or if space constraints exist it will
be a few smaller dissected spaces within a larger space.
The show will include photo images and text, fashion, regalia,
designed home elements, and computer animation.
There will be photo/text hanging on the walls: some images
compiled to look like a page of a history book; some just larger
‘historical’ looking images; and some contemporary interpretations
of the ‘past’. In the
different areas there will be dominated by a particular discipline:
fashion; design; cultural garments; and media.
This is not for certain, the juxtaposition of the different
disciplines might be better categories in a faux historical line, in
which case some of each of the disciplines would be held in each area.
animation is half way completed.
I continue to sketch and refine the remainder of the show, I
will begin building and compiling the work as soon as I work out a
happy with the sketches. There are some monetary constraints, so if you know someone
who would like to invest in some way I would appreciate any
is an integral part of Culture. In
western categorization, art acts as a documentation of the temperament
of the time or a reflection of the social state of the society.
Historically, it moved from realism into purely abstract
contrast, the Northwest Coast artwork was so deeply interjected into
the social, spiritual and philosophical ways of living that it reached
this abstract expressive form early on, in relative time to the
Western European artwork. The
magnitude of interlacing art into all the levels of life was so great
that it is often now labelled as our culture.
But doing this, scholars have encased the depth of
understanding of the work by using it as a window to look through to
see how we lived. The obstacle that this creates is the actual depth
and meaning of the work is lost.
touch” explores and questions the loss of content and depth of
understanding in this form of art.
Even by labelling these beings as art the container is built.
another level, the works that were so interlaced in our society have
been removed and placed into containers, labelled “don’t touch”.
The potential for us to explore the true meaning of the works
through our innate understanding passed on ‘through our blood’ is
lost. They are like
teaching toys for children, the more interaction we as First Nations
have with the works the clearer the true content becomes.
history written about these works, have been researched and condensed
into a point of view that for the most part is not First Nations.
It is presented in a structured western point of view, to which
I myself do not escape. With my work I follow my instincts as much a possible in
order to recapture the knowledge of my ancestors.
show is not totally clear to me yet, but I do have a visual concept of
what the show will look like. The
works in “don’t touch” are encased in glass in the shape of
building blocks. They are
stacked and scattered throughout an enclosed room.
In each of these blocks is a part of a
meaning of Artwork evolves within each individual. The perspective of the artist or points of origin of thought
in which the works emerged are only that, a beginning of the meaning
of the work. It is the
connection between the participant and the work in which the work
gains its life, and a deeper understanding is achieved.
This question of content and the meaning of art itself came
into question in the European history of art on the on slot of the
invention of the camera.
European fine artist intent was to record history. The artist began to question the intent or content of their
work, looking for something outside of realism.
We then began to see the emergence of abstract works (i.e.
surrealism, dadaism, impressionism, etc.), where the imagery of the
work is only a portion of the content or meaning of the work.
The works began to be based on many other factors including
emotional, cultural, and esoteric began to be included in the
definition of Fine Art.
a First Nation’s artist our Northwest Coast artwork started by tying
a whole set of realistic, emotional, and abstract content into the
final piece. Because this
language was developed early on, people have come to assign this
complex system of understanding into a superficial means of looking
only for the animals, myth, and the past cultural tradition it is
is it?” stands for all the phrases, including: “What does this
represent”, “What animal is this”, and “Is this based on a
past myth”. The show is
to honour the past artist, by recapturing this sense of magnificent
rich content, from a contemporary point of view.
I would like to understand the historical path in which the
Northwest Coast Artwork was heading and developing to, and in as free
as I can immerse myself into the past to look with untarnished eyes,
these pieces will gain their life.
I see myself as only a vehicle in which the past knowledge can
be passed on.
works will be carved in a style that skews the interlinking levels of
the objects being represented. Colour
will also be a factor in each of the works, and add to the emotional
intent of each of the works. I
will use local material, including red and yellow cedar, abalone
shells, oyster shells and clamshells, cedar bark, swamp grass, copper,
gold and silver.