Friday, January 15, 2010

Salish Journey

The exhibit of Pacific Coast Salish art I saw today at the BC museum was entitled 'S'abadeb The Gifts', and what a gift it was! Weaving, basketry, carving, and other art forms as well as film and written information about their history and culture right up to the present. The photo above is not from the exhibit and is a carving I already have that is of unknown origin. Photography wasn't allowed at the exhibit and I wanted something that catches a flavour of today and I thought of this. I liked a quote by a Salish elder, who said that for the Salish, looking at a pile of mountain goat's wool was like looking at the vault in Fort Knox! The spindle whorls they used to hold the spun wool are associated with the weaver's spiritual helpers and had fascinating designs. There was a dress made of woven cedar bark which was incredible. I also like how they added animal images to their tools to evoke qualities such as precision and speed, and how each family had their own songs, stories and art to pass on to next generations. Being included in a story was important because if gave individuals a sense of belonging - I like that. And I especially appreciate how they incorporated ritual into their lives and their respectful behaviour to each other and all beings. There were also more recent Salish art pieces, such as an etched glass spindle whorl and paintings. What an inspiring journey into Coast Salish art and culture.

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