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U990.14.465
Artist / Maker : David, Joe
Title : Welcome Dancer
Date (Execution) : n.d.
Geographical Origin : Opitsaht, British Columbia, Canada
Cultural Group : Nuu-chah-nulth, Tla-o-qui-aht
Style / Period : Western Modern 1900-1950
Medium / Material  : Serigraph
Support / Technique : paper
Object Type : screen prints
Visual Description : whale with torso, head and arms of a man coming out from the dorsal fin.
Accession # : U990.14.465
Width (cm) : 51.00
Height (cm) : 44.60
Depth (cm) : 0.00
Mandatory Credit : Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Grant, Purchased from the Collection of Vincent Rickard
Artist Statement : The large crowd of assembled guests, seated in the "big-house" according to rank, is hushed by the sudden slow throb of the taut skin drums. A lone dancer is before them. On his head a portrait mask represents an important ancestor - over his shoulders is a long cape, embellished across the back with the main crest of the family giving the potlatch- the whale crest. The WELCOME DANCE, to welcome the invited guests and signal the start of the formal proceeding of the potlatch, has begun. The drum beat, slow and steady, is accompanied by singing. The dancer's outstretched arms and uplifted hands spread wide the cape to fully reveal the design of the leaping whale. Always with his back to the guests, the dancer progresses sideways, a step with each beat of the drum. The masked head suddenly swivels to the opposite direction and the dancer traces his steps, finally to reverse direction once again to return to the center. The magnificent Whales crest, in full view of the guests at all times, declares pride om the family lineage while reaffirming the identity of the family giving the potlatch. Four times over the dance is preformed. The potlatch is performed. The potlatch has begun. (Statement provided by Pacific Editions ) Joe David's vigorous design of the WELCOME DANCER clearly shows the portrait mask of the dancer in profile (top center), flanked by the outstretched human arms and hands that support and spread out the dance cape to display the whale crest. At left, the head of the whale supports the blow hole, shown here as a human face with its open mouth as the spouting hole. The dorsal fin curves up between the dancers arms, while the tail flukes fan out on the lower right. (statement provided by Pacific Editions)