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Artist / Maker : Wilson, Joseph M.; Sxwaset
Title : Salish Welcoming
Date (Execution) : 2006
Geographical Origin : Duncan, British Columbia, Canada
Cultural Group : Coast Salish, Cowichan
Style / Period : Contemporary 1950 -
Medium / Material  : Serigraph
Support / Technique : paper
Object Type : screen prints
Visual Description : A human form squats in the centre of two thunderbirds whose beaks touch its head. Blue, red and black ink.
Accession # : U014.3.698
Width (cm) : 55.50
Height (cm) : 29.50
Depth (cm) :
Mandatory Credit : Gift from the Collection of George and Christiane Smyth
Artist Statement : "This welcoming figure represents a human with two thunderbirds at each side. The design was translated into my own stretched out version from an old circular spindle whorl. Spindle whorls were used to spin mountain goat will, which the Salish people used for blankets as a covering. Symbolically, the thunderbird was considered a protector of the people, and one of the most powerful spirit beings of the supernatural realm. Our people searched for these different powers through physical and mental deprivation from food, water, and human contact, as well as through spending many days in the wilderness. Searching for a spirit helper or power through visions, usually at the age of 'maturity', was very common. Once accomplished, they retreated home to a ceremonial welcoming, to be blessed by the village's shaman or medicine man. They returned happy to have found their place in the community. They also knew that if they asked their new found helper they could become better at what ever they do, whether if be hunting or fishing for the man, to basketry or weaving for the woman. The woman in this figure can be seen as saying thank you, or 'cay chqa.' The circular design in the woman's womb represents a baby which would probably follow in the mother's footsteps, and would also have the thunderbird as a spirit helper. Here, the design in the womb of the mother represents thunderbird, and the woman's face in the thunderbird represents thunderbird's ability to change or transform into human form."