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Artist / Maker : Dawson, Peter
Title : Sisiutl and Tree of Life
Date (Execution) : 1995
Geographical Origin : Gwayi (Kingcome Inlet); British Columbia; Canada
Cultural Group : Dzawada̱ʼenux̱w (Tsawataineuk), Kwakwaka'wakw
Style / Period : Contemporary 1950 -
Medium / Material  : Serigraph
Support / Technique : paper
Object Type : screen prints
Visual Description : Wolf, human and tree of life characters in Northwest coast formline.
Accession # : U014.3.129
Width (cm) : 46.00
Height (cm) : 46.00
Depth (cm) :
Mandatory Credit : Gift from the Collection of George and Christiane Smyth
Artist Statement : As we go through life, we are confronted with choices and decisions of daily living. Every choice and decision we make has choices and decisions within itself and so on. Like a tree has branches growing from branches, one half of the branch will always be shaded from the light. Our choices and decisions in our lives are similar to this, they will either benefit us, or cause an obstacle for us. In the Kwagiulth culture, the Sisiutl has many representations. A mythical two headed creature that is very powerful, only chiefs were allowed to wear them on their ceremonial headdresses. In the spiritual aspect of the Sisiutl in this design it represents a mirror image of the self, and the choices of good and evil within us. We all as individuals can be hateful and destructive, or to love and be constructive with our lives. The tree of life is a powerful representation of life as it surrounds us. The trees have played an important part of many cultures for thousands of years. They were our transportation on the water, shelter of our home, our clothing, they made the masks of our potlatches, as well as numerous other things in our culture. The tree only takes what is needed, and gives everything. Our lives are similar to that of the tree. We are constantly growing, we have roots, branches that we send in all directions, and in time we die. (statement of Peter Dawson)