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Stituyntm: Enduring Traditions

West Vancouver Museum
West Vancouver BC – thru Aug 31, 2007

Sel’selten (spindle whorl), Squamish culture

Sel’selten (spindle whorl), Squamish culture, North Vancouver BC, (19th C.), maple wood, [West Vancouver Museum, West Vancouver BC, through Aug 31]

“Stituyntm” is an exhibit of the “Enduring Traditions” of the Squamish Nation, a Coastal Salish people whose traditional territory ranges from the Lower Mainland of British Columbia to Howe Sound and the Squamish Valley watershed. The exhibit is a partnership between the Squamish Nation community and the West Vancouver Museum. It complements the Squamish Sculpture Symposium by coinciding with the unveiling of Sna7m Smánit (Spirit of the Mountain), by Squamish artist Xwa lack tun at Ch’tl’am (Ambleside Park).

The Squamish, and other Coast Salish peoples, have an ancient and distinctive art style dating back thousands of years. Most visible is the skilled use of negative space in two-dimensional designs on houseposts, spindle whorls, rattles and bracelets. Subject matter shows spiritual encounters between humans and animals, animals in pursuit of one another, and face-to-face encounters. The realistic-looking animal figures have rounded heads and bodies with oval-shaped eyes, and the paint colours – when used – are subdued and true to life. Since the 1970s, artists have also expressed traditional designs as prints on paper.

The art forms are entwined with other aspects of the culture, such as language, song, dance, storytelling and theatre. They are also closely connected with the work of three important figures who influence the creation of aesthetic object: the Indian Doctor, the Prophet and the Ritualist. Contemporary artists, such as Chief Floyd Joseph of the Squamish Nation and Stan Greene of the Sto:lo and Semiahmoo communities, have mastered the Coast Salish art style through careful study and replication of the surviving masterpieces.


Swiwkw'elh [Blanket), Squamish Nation
Swiwkw'elh [Blanket), Squamish Nation, artist unknown, mountain goat hair, [West Vancouver Museum, West Vancouver BC, through Aug 31]

 Fri, Apr 6, 2007