Canoe Breaker: Southeast Wind’s Brother – 2015
The original painting to this print edition appears on the cover of “Robert Davidson: Abstract Impulse” which is the accompanying book to the exhibition that took place at both the Seattle Art Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian, in 2014. Available as a print for the first time in May 2015, this dynamic imagery shows one of the brothers (or faces) of Southeast Wind. The painting is described on page 88:
“Southeast Wind has ten brothers (in some accounts, nephews), or different manifestations of his powerful force. Ethnologist John R. Swanton recorded a story in the winter of 1900 about Master-Carpenter, who went to war with Southeast Wind because he was sending too much rainy, stormy weather to the people. After four failed attempts to make a seaworthy canoe, Master-Carpenter succeeded and set out on his mission. He seized the matted hair (kelp) of Southeast Wind and pulled him into the canoe. Southeast Wind sent the first of his brothers, Red Storm Cloud, who turned the sky red, followed by Taker Off of the Tree Tops, who blew so hard the tree branches came down around Master-Carpenter in his canoe. Next, Pebble Rattler brought rolling waves, Canoe Breaker violently tossed the canoe, and Tidal Wave covered the canoe with water. Others brought mist and melted ice. All this time, Mater-Carpenter was putting medicine on himself that he brought with him for the task.
Exposed as their villages are to the currents and wind, Haida travelers and fishermen are keenly observant of the weather. Davidson sees an analogy between uncertain weather and preparing for the unknown, such as performing a new song or creating a work of art. Southeast Wind is represented here by an image of the killer whale, which becomes human when on land. A humanlike nose and eye signal this transformative nature. The large ovoid is its head and a black tri-neg forms the edge of the lower jaw. Black U-shapes with red ovals indicate the pectoral and dorsal fins, and the tail is shown at the very top. The entire image is dematerialized but not disjointed. ”
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