It all started when I was researching the meaning of the various spirit animals in this hand carved totem pole:
First I read on the Spirits of the West Art Gallery website that the Totem Eagle is known as “The master of the skies” and is believed to be the creature with the closest relationship with the creator. By soaring great heights, he can travel between the physical world and the spiritual world, and is said to be a messenger to the creator.
It got even more interesting when the description continued, “The wings of an eagle symbolize the balance and co-dependency between males and females, and how each gender must work together in order to achieve harmonious results”. Wow. Pretty enlightened stuff.
As I continued my research on some of the other fabulous featured items in this month’s tribute to Aboriginal art, I continued to be amazed, and to be honest, a little awed.
According to the website firstnationspedagogy.ca, First Nations culture is intrinsically woven by the supportive threads of relationship: with one other, with the Great Spirit, and with the Earth. First Nations art encompasses many forms – including the traditional arts, ceremonial or religious arts, utilitarian arts, and art produced for the tourist market, as well as the contemporary or fine arts.
It seems that every aspect of Indigenous peoples’ lives was (and is) worthy of beautification, and every opportunity is taken to honor and celebrate the spirit animals who enrich their lives.
From handmade utilitarian items such as baskets like these:
To gorgeous Inuit carvings like this sea lion:
and this glorious soaring eagle carved from a moose antler:
to decorative arts like this beautiful polar bear image drawn on a deer skin signed by First Nations artist Cedric Isaac:
this beautiful Six Nations pottery:
and this incredible beaded cushion.
But I think it all came together for me when I ran across Judith Varney Burch online as I was researching this incredible felt wall hanging made by Inuit artist Rita Nashook:
Burch is an Inuit art specialist who has created an exhibition of Inuit wall hangings from Baker Lake, Nunavut called “Culture on Cloth”. After watching Burch’s video, “I See Them in Their Art,” I found a greater ability to see the story of the North through these artists who make their culture visually accessible to everyone through representations we can understand and appreciate. Watch the video here: https://polarhorizons.com/blog/?p=926#sthash.grvqXnsG.dpbs
These and other items of Indigenous art are respectfully featured this month at vintageadirondack.com. Because Adirondack style is a tribute to the Native American design that served as its inspiration.
Interesting side note: Our daughter posted this to Facebook the same day I was writing this post, which she knew nothing about. It is by First Nations artist Hal Cameron.
Coincidence? I think not.