2017 Canadian Biennial
October 19, 2017 to March 18, 2018
"The fourth edition of the Canadian Biennial brings together a comprehensive selection of works acquired since 2014 by the Gallery’s departments of Contemporary Art, Indigenous Art, and the Canadian Photography Institute, and is the first to date to feature artists working both in Canada and internationally. Many of the artworks in this section of the Biennal were created with the intention of serving as a living component of a culture rather than merely representing one. Susan Point, Angela Marston and lessLIE achieve this in their incorporation of long-standing iconographies of the Coast Salish peoples.
Point has been instrumental in the resurgence of Coast Salish art, drawing inspiration from the stories of her ancestors. The (Thunderbird Series prints) included here employ a circles shape, referencing the spindle whorl, a tool customarily used by Coast Salish women to prepare wool. They also reference Thunderbird, a giant supernatural creature that causes thunder by flapping its wings and emits lightning from its eyes.
Marston incorporates traditional Coast Salish design elements such as ovals, crescents and trigons in her work. This series of four rattles exempifies her use of these designs, while exploring the four elements and primary forces of nature. The meaning behind each rattle is rooted in the Coast Salish belief of living in harmony with the environment and understanding and respecting associated powers of the number four: the four winds and the four directions, representing symetry and balance.
True to customary Coast Salish forms and designs, lessLIE's artistic style draws on iconographic elements such as the spindle whorl and the number four, while addressing contemporary political issues. Wolves was inspired by a Coast Salish carved comb, featuring ovals, crescents and trigons to create two abstract wolf heads. Salish Community and Eight People, Eight Ravens are similar in both their palette and composition, emphasizing the importance of balance and symetry through the circle motif."
Natonal Gallery of Canada
It is the first time that the National Gallery of Canada has featured contemporary Coast Salish Art in an exhibition. Salish Weave is proud that 14 of the 58 artworks it gifted to the Gallery in 2016 are displayed in this Biennial.