This particular piece of artwork is actually Nuu-Chah-Nulth in design and name, rather than Coast Salish. While Ray Sim’s mother and grandmother are from Musqueam, the artist himself grew up in Port Alberni and thus participated in Nuu-Chah-Nulth ceremonies there. The Sea Serpent is usually depicted as a double-headed Supernatural creature. It is told in legends that after the Great Flood, the Sea Serpent wished to live on dry land. Its powers allowed the creature to transform into a man, but soon the Sea Serpent longed to fly. Because he was too heavy, the Sea Serpent called the Thunderbird for help. Often the two Supernatural animals are therefore connected; however, the Sea Serpent is also known as the guardian and warrior of the Supernatural world.
Ray Sim (born 1968) is a member of the Musqueam Band of the Coast Salish
peoples in Vancouver, BC, but he also has close family ties with the Gitanmaax Band through his grandfather. Sim spent two years of formal training with Vernon Stephens and Ken Mowatt at the Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Art in Hazelton. Although he primarily carves, Sim has continually experimented with painting, printmaking and shawl designs using Salish art designs.