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Artist / Maker : Preston, Mark ; Tenna Tsa Teh
Title : Beaver
Date (Execution) : 2001
Geographical Origin : Dawson, Yukon, Canada
Cultural Group : Tlingit
Style / Period : Contemporary 1950 -
Medium / Material  : Serigraph
Support / Technique : paper
Object Type : screen prints
Visual Description : Narrow horizontal rectangular composition with predominant red lips and white teeth on the far right and centre top of the image. Turquoise, red, black and white colour scheme.
Accession # : U014.3.479
Width (cm) : 36.50
Height (cm) : 18.00
Depth (cm) :
Mandatory Credit : Gift from the Collection of George and Christiane Smyth
Artist Statement : "The beaver is a strong symbol for many west coast people for determination and strength. The original story is how the beaver first came to be. It starts off with a young woman who is swimming in a stream and is enjoying herself so much that she forgets how late the day is getting. One of her family members warns her of the night coming on, and that she should come out of the water. The young woman stubbornly refuses to listen and, with more beckoning from her family, she continues to wade further into the water wearing only a woven apron around her waist. Finally the night falls and with it a curse is set upon the young woman and she transforms into the first beaver and the woven apron turns into the tail of the beaver. This story is more of a warning to you about the need to be aware of the dangers of the woods at night and that we should pay attention to peoples' warnings of coming dangers. If you have ever had the opportunity to sit quietly and watch the workings of the bearer you will see a certain stubbornness and determination with the character of the beaver as they go about their work to build a dam. The idea of the beaver [for this print] came as a result of hearing a story about how a certain valley got its name in Trail, BC. The valley is called Echo Valley because every 60-70 years the beaver dams rot and break away, washing everything along its path until it gets to the main river. It is said that the crashing creates such a thunderous noise that it creates echoes in the valley and hence its name, 'Echo Valley.' While I was with my great uncle, Taylor McGundy, he would sometimes bring home a beaver and muskrats from the nearby lakes we had set our fall camps at. The seasons brought with it many types of wildlife that were hunted for the coming winter and it was very necessary for us to hunt the beavers too. He was always aware of how many beavers lived in an area so as not to over-hunt them. I recall him mentioning to his wife, Mary Looke, that he would wait another season before trapping this area again. A good hunter rotates his trap lines so that the next generation of game will thrive and be healthy. This practice also ensured that the family would survive too." - Mark Preston "This print is one of four designed in the style of bentwood box painting." Statement provided by Vincent Rickard, Pacific Editions.