North and South (Panel)
“This print is based on an original mixed media piece of the same title which utilized glass and red cedar. The composition is intentionally drawing from the yin yang motif with a single color. The design recognizes my experience as an artist growing up with formline art as a major influence both in print and public art collections. Early in my career and learning stages, the majority of writing and documentation was of tribes north of my region in Western Washington. As a result the work I was hired for making was largely based on that design system.
Five years in I was able to work with artists in Neah Bay as well as a handful of Puget Sound artists who were working to make Southern Northwest Coast more visible as an expression of culture. For those who study the diversity of the design languages these two are at somewhat of extremes. One in painted and in carved form makes compositions of design elements that are positive and resulting in a connection of lines to convey a subject. The Southern approach utilizes carved out shapes that often flow in a sense of direction with the placement of elements.
Utilizing the yin yang motif allows an international viewer to see the juxtaposition thru use of an established concept. There have been comparisons of Northwest Coast in general and its appearance to have some relationship to East Asia. My belief is that after some time of reflection, cultural expressions have relationship to the land and elements. Works of Southeast Alaska Native cultures differ greatly from Puget Sound and are relatively close as Indigenous cultures.
Beyond the aesthetic alone, this design is a way to recognize two eagles seen thru different stylistic expressions with balance. In my youth I had some hesitation to utilize a design language that I had little connection to but in the same vein, grow true appreciation for its complexity and people. At time of making this a print I am moved greatly to know my community has embraced and reconnected to the regional design by way of painted, carved and woven works of art.
This appreciation is to acknowledge the history and artists who refined the work generation one after the other. I always encourage artists and collectors alike to look at the early work and see it’s advancements and innovations. ”
– Statement from Qwalsius (Sean Peterson)