Wednesday, July 28, 2010


haida nisga'a luke parnell3 I’ve come to the conclusion that the number 52 is no longer relevant to my project.  The reason I chose 52 was because I wanted to convey the idea of the passage of time.  That this story began long ago and continues today, 52 for 52 weeks, one year.  As I have worked on the project though I’m realizing that it isn’t necessary.  My artist statement will explain my motivations for creating the work and anyone who doesn’t read the artist statement will have their own reading of the work. haida nisga'a luke parnell4

So, I’ve been looking for a significant number of pieces to use in the piece, here’s what I’ve come up with; over 460 ancestors have been returned to Haida Gwaii, 48 have been returned from the American museum of natural History(AMNH) and from North America(NA) 400 have been repatriated with 3 on long term loan.

In most of my calculations I’ve got myself creating one for every ten ancestors, except for the AMNH 48 and the NA 40 +3.  48 is 1/1, each piece referring to an actual ancestor, where as 46 is 1/10 each piece referring to ten ancestors.  I guess it depends on how personal I want the work to feel.  46 will refer to the whole project, 48 to specific ancestors, I don’t know if I am related to any of the ancestors from the AMNH, I could be and that would help in my decision making process.  I’m going to have to come up with an actual title for this work.

haida nisga'a Luke Parnell2 haida, nisga'a Luke parnell1

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

52 Technician of the sacred

Creating this work has brought me to places I didn’t know I would go.  The first figure was created with a neutral gaze, very safe, very…  academic.  If you remember, I plan to create each figure with a different facial expression, the expressions will range from subtle to extreme.  The next figure I created was angry face and I have to admit, I found it unnerving.  I should have known that in creating emotion I would cause an emotional response, especially within myself. 52, Luke Parnell, carving Nisga'a Haida art 52 nisga'a haida art luke parnell

In the book “Bird of Paradox”, Wilson Duff coined the phrase “Technicians of the sacred”, he was describing carvers.  I interpreted that statement as the creation of new artefacts rather than art.  I disagree with respect and have always battled the idea that carvers do not create contemporary art.  So much so that when I had a solo show, I titled it “Technician of the Split - U”(the split U being a design element of NWC carving).bird of paradox, wilson duff

With 52 if feel like I’m going to an emotional place I’ve never gone before, I came close with the mask “Disturbed”disturbed019 , that was more personal than spiritual.  I created each of the figures to go in small acrylic boxes and when I placed the two finished figures in the boxes I was left with an uneasy feeling, like I had created something sacred.  My overactive imagination is a part of being a creative person, so I  can deal with the occasional craziness of creation.  however, I will need to look at different ways of reading this work, because my uneasiness is holding me back a little.

52, luke parnell, carver nisga'a haida 52, Haida, nisga'a art, luke parnell