River’s Spirit (2000)
EXHIBITION:Marvin Oliver: Rare Works On Paper
This piece was inspired with Washington State in mind. Attorney General Christine Gregoire was hosting a national attorney general conference in Seattle. She asked Marvin to create a silkscreen that she could use as a gift to each of the 50 Attorney Generals.
River’s Spirit depicts the sockeye salmon Chief in a button blanket, releasing the new generation of salmon from a bentwood box into the river. The Northwest Coast people believed that Salmon were actually humans with eternal life and lived in a large house far under the ocean. In Spring they put on their Salmon disguises and offered themselves to the villagers as food. When entire fish skeletons were returned to the sea, the spirits would rise again and change into Salmon people. In this way, the cycle continued.