I would like to explain the meaning behind my piece “A brief history of Northwest coast design”. This work consists of eleven planks placed side by side to make up one installation. Each plank is representative of a moment in the history of Northwest coast art, together they tell a story. The story begins the day before first contact or the good old days as I call them, the second panel takes place much later when our culture was documented and collected. After this what wasn’t collected was allowed to fall, some literally rotted on the side of the road others were painted over to be used in our new world. Though hidden the art survived, kept by artists, storytellers and elders they just needed time to bring the art back to the people. Recovery began with a few master artists publicly displaying their work and a full renaissance began. Many artefacts were kept by museums around the world, however only an infrared camera could reveal the designs hidden under a hundred years of patina. Once recovered the designs were painted on plywood and published for a new generation of artists to learn from the masters. It would seam we have come full circle, however there are gaps in our knowledge and some of the designs are now untranslatable and the meanings are lost.
The design I chose for this piece is a raven box design because I always think of the raven as the being who found the pieces of the world and put them together. On each wing is a human which is who the story is about and on the chest of the Raven is mouse woman. She is a witness and helper, especially when some one is traveling between worlds, as this work travels between contemporary and traditional.