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Artist / Maker : Preston, Mark ; Tenna Tsa Teh
Title : Welcoming
Date (Execution) : 2007
Geographical Origin : Dawson, Yukon, Canada
Cultural Group : Tlingit
Style / Period : Contemporary 1950 -
Medium / Material  : Serigraph
Support / Technique : paper; screen print
Object Type : screen prints
Visual Description : Narrow horizontal rectangular composition of a red, black and white canoe. Two silhouettes in the canoe facing toward the left and their shadows in the water below.
Accession # : U014.3.486
Width (cm) : 61.00
Height (cm) : 28.00
Depth (cm) :
Mandatory Credit : Gift from the Collection of George and Christiane Smyth
Artist Statement : "The canoe has long been the symbol of freedom for the Tlingit people, as well as for many other cultures of the world. Before the first settlers there were a great number of sea vessels travelling along the coast. Trade was the way of the coastal people; they shipped goods that they had gathered from their regions. As well as being a means of travel the canoe was also used by war parties, and they would have built specifically for this purpose. Several times larger than the common canoe, these vessels would have held as many as 50 men. However, in more peaceful times these canoes would have brought families together for ceremonial purposes in certain seasons of the year. When a canoe from one village would have approached another territory it was customary to ask permission to come ashore. The chief or the person in charge would raise his paddle in one hand and request to land and dock. When it was granted there would be gifts given out to the people on shore. Families would be reunited through feasts and gift-giving. The canoe was a very integral part of daily living for the west coast Tlingit people, in that it was their best mode of travel as well as a means of hunting the whale and sea lions. Harvesting the ocean bottom, using the canoe, for shellfish and sea urchins was another aspect of daily living and food gathering. In this print you see a small vessel with its occupants asking permission to come ashore. Something that would have been a very normal act of mutual respect of clans and territorial rights. Today this is still practiced in certain times of ceremony amongst many of the tribes of today. If we as a people take the time to see beyond our own understanding, we will begin to see that just beneath the surface there is a reason to many of the things we just do not know. What is on the surface of many things in life is changed with ideas and methods of dealing with what life brings to us. There is a story of an old man in one village that has had a vision. In it he describes the coming of raven, as a giant figure carrying a creature on his back. So, when the first European sailed across the oceans to anchor near the village, the people were frightened, but ready to greet raven. They had a hard time deciding who should go to welcome the raven and all the strange creatures that were crawling on the raven's back. And so it is said that the blind man went to greet raven. Welcome to the place of my first breath to that forgotten place now I am back from my long journey with arms outstretched posing for your embrace the warmth of my family and the familiar. Where have I been that you should have forgotten my names sake now here I stand to gently remind you that I will not leave and go away this is my homeland as far as the eye was it not my ancestors that welcomed you and embraced family upon family now that you are here let us embrace the truth and see our strengths bring us all safely into the next life you are welcome.