The phenomenon of life exists within nature’s splendor. As the land draws its breath from the winds above, so too does it exhale with the receding tides of the ocean. This interpretation of land, sea and air is likened to the majestic bird, the Hokioi (native Eagle, Roi Toia), who traverses the realms of the over-worlds, the Thunder Lizard (Susan Point) who protects the “life principle” of the land and the Whai (Stingray, Todd Couper) who patrols the domain of the underworlds. The center arrangement depicts the essence of life and the evolution of death symbolized by two spirals opposing each other.
Our connection grew following visits in New Zealand and Vancouver. I felt a tremendous kinship with all the Maori artists I met, and was overwhelmed by their generosity and hospitality during my trip. At the time of the Kiwa exhibition, we began this collaboration celebrating the artistic and spiritual ties between our cultures.
– Susan Point
The word ‘manawanui’ comes from a part of a Coast Salish blessing. The term ‘kia manawanui’ means “be forever strong of heart.” The pattern on this piece is reminiscent of a circular abstract pattern of a Salish spindle whorl. The two opposing spirals represent the constant evolution of death while the center symbolizes the heart of life.
Susan Point (born 1952) is a Coast Salish artist based on the Musqueam First Nations Reserve. Point began her career in 1981 in jewellery, serigraphs, and paintings. Eager to reinvigorate interest in her own peoples art style, Point chose to concentrate on the traditional designs and elements created by her ancestors while applying a more contemporary aesthetic and experimentation with techniques and materials such as paper, glass, bronze, wood, concrete, polymer, stainless steel, and cast iron. Point’s innovative approach to traditional forms and myths has led to an international reputation and has inspired many of the new generation of Northwest Coast artists.