Tree of Life

Acrylic on Birch Panel

In the village of Kake, where this artist is from, the used to be an old spruce tree, hundreds of years old. It was so huge, its lower boughs created a canopy; a shelter. There was a fresh water stream that ran year round, and the ground was covered with soft moss. Some women even gave birth there. My brother-in-law, Mike Jackson, said that tree was known as the “Tree of Life.”

With that in mind, I wanted to tie that image into history, lineage, and the continuity of life.

The faces along the base represent roots and ancestors, simultaneously.

The figures in the branches from top down are literally Raven, Bear, and Salmon; symbolically Sky, Land, Sea — all life.

There are two humanoid creatures inside the tree; one crawling up, the other crawling down. These figures represent the capillary action that takes water up to all parts. The figure crawling down is life returning to itself, full circle.

Robert Davis Hoffmann

Xaa shuch’eet’