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Artist / Maker : Preston, Mark ; Tenna Tsa Teh
Title : The Salmon Return
Date (Execution) : 1999
Geographical Origin : Dawson, Yukon, Canada
Cultural Group : Tlingit
Style / Period : Contemporary 1950 -
Medium / Material  : Serigraph
Support / Technique : paper
Object Type : screen prints
Visual Description : Horizontal rectangular composition of eight black and red salmon swimming toward the right. White background.
Accession # : U014.3.478
Width (cm) : 62.00
Height (cm) : 41.00
Depth (cm) :
Mandatory Credit : Gift from the Collection of George and Christiane Smyth
Artist Statement : "Not long ago, in a small northern village, lived a people whose primary food source was the salmon. The old ones passed on stories of how we should care for the salmon people. So, faithfully the people never over-fished, making sure they took only what they would need for the coming winter. Any extras were to be shared amongst the old and the very young. The salmon is more than a metaphor for life cycles or mankind. The salmon is life. As a four year old I watched my great uncle Taylor McGurdy pull in his nets, full of these wonders of nature. I watched as my Aunt Mary and my mother, Kay Yee Yah, tenderly cut and wash each salmon respectfully. I enjoyed the life it gave back to sustain my own. Each season we replenished our catches for the following winter. We caught only what we needed; extras we shared with those who could not catch their own, usually the very old or the very young. As a species, we are dependent on the salmon returning to their place of birth. This painting (and print) doesn't represent some sweet, quaint ideal of the past. It is, however, a reminder of our inherent roles as human beings to look closer at what we are not doing, to understand our own vulnerabilities. The story of the salmon is our own."