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Follow this link to see an article that discusses all the great stuff going on at Kunsoot, including a great image of the mural I did over there this summer. 

This was a fun project. I worked with a group of about six youth to create eight banners, which were placed at the Government Wharf. Thanks for this project go to Desiree Lawson and Cindy Neilson. The banners were made using spray paint and stencils. I sketched out and cut out a large number of cardboard stencils, using traditional design elements (ovoid, U-form, and S-form). The students then brainstormed words that reflect the values behind their Gwilas (traditional laws). The colours were chosen by the students to evoke these values, as well as to be festive and joyous.



Oil Paintings

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This 14'x9' mural was completed recently. It was commissioned by the Kusoot Wellness Society. It is an imagined historical view of a summer salmon harvest at the mouth of the Kunsoot River, near Bella Bella (Waglisla). At the time I am writing this, the Kunsoot Wellness centre is nearing the end of its construction. There are several beautifully made buildings, including dormatory cabins, and a lodge/cookhouse, where this mural now resides. 


The image is of the existing location, with some minor liberties taken to perspective, in order to fit everything in. One hundred years ago, as the Heiltsuk people were in their initial resistance to colonial assimilation, it is attested that there were around thirty smokehouses along the beaches, as well as some stone salmon weirs. The main, and most successful weir is shown on the right, and is easily viewed today at low tide. The row of rocks near the middle of the painting was a smaller, and, evidently less successful weir--a situation that drew sidelong smiles from some of the people who harvested salmon in the area.


This is a picture of the Kunsoot river now, taken from the beach at extremely low tide. It is possible to see part of the fish weir on the far right, with the under-construction wellness centre on the right. The river is tidal, far into an upstream estuary, so it looks very different from the painting. Also, due to low cloud cover, the distant mountains are hidden. The painting was partially composite, but I tried to remain as faithful as possible to the spirit and appearance of the location. This photo does not do justice to the beauty and serenity of the actual place.


Geese dabbling in the river.


As I was working on the painting, Larry would drop by every now and then, and we would discuss the direction of the painting, in respect to life in Kusoot at the time, describing items like clothing, and activities, and so on. He would often ask me to throw in a little detail here or there. We had a discussion about the fact that, as well as a salmon weir, it was a popular location for goose hunting, so could I put some goose in? I said, yes, but goose season is fall, and the people here are harvesting salmon, which is a summer activity. We agreed that I would put in a pair of geese with goslings, which you can see dabbling just behind the point. We talked about the shape and construction smoke houses, and that there would be wood piles, and straight sticks that were used for hanging the fish.

This detail shows someone carrying salmon into the smokehouse. The houses were traditionally made from split cedar planks, but, by the time of this depiction, milled wood was becoming available.


Everyone participated in the harvest event. This detail shows a pair of people squatting to put fish in a basket, and another couple walking with baskets of fish. According to my close friend, Ayla, prior to contact, gender roles were less rigidly defined than they are now, so the couple on the left of this detail was deliberately left ambiguous, in that regard. In the back, a child helps an adult cut fish. Notice the double-blade axe in the top left, which signifies the colonial presence in terrritory.


Detail of the smoke rising throught the trees, and a hidden presence on the left.


Ravens playing tag in the mist and smoke.


I have just added the gallery, Inktober 2016. These are a selection of Inktober pictures from last year. If you don't know, Inktober is an event in which artists upload one image per  day, and post it online #inktober, #inktober2016. Every image uses ink, and, other than that, anything goes. It's fun, and builds skills, but it's not easy to come up with one new image every day.



Qatuwas Acrylic Mural--18'x10'

This is a mural I made with a Student, Sharon Wilson. It commemorates the Qatuwas Canoe Journey of 2014. This painting shows the four Heiltsuk crests, Raven, Eagle, Wolf, and Killer Whale paddling the canoe. The figure in the stern is the human, who, as steward of the land and sea, is in the steering positon. The background shows Denny Island and other land features of the territory in front of a sunrise, stars twinkling out, symbolizing the rising strength of the Heiltsuk people, as they pull (literally)together. 

The figures in the canoe might be humans wearing masks, or they might be transforming into ancestral counterparts--again meant as a strengthening process, or a part of the decolonization process.

The title "Qatuwas" (Canoe Journey) refers to an annual gathering of canoes from nations stretching from northern BC to Oregon. While it is often held in Washington state, the first gathering was held in Bella Bella in 1993, and then again in 2014.

I am happy to share these pictures of some recent paintings I currently have on display at the West Coast Community Craft Shop in Port Hardy. Next time you are in Port Hardy, please drop by Cafe Guido for an espresso and check out some of my work. Thanks to Davida for supplying these photos.

Me in front of a painting I did back in about '92 or '93. Title of the painting is 'Funhouse', after the Iggy Pop album. It is upstairs at Taf's Cafe down on Granville Street. Drop by and check it out if you are out shopping for Fluevogs.