Thunder Mountain

Serigraph: Ink on Paper

23” X 20”

Artist/Curatorial Statement

My people’s oral history tells many legends of the Thunderbird. He is a symbol of luck and is a protector of people. Living high in the mountains, the Thunderbird claps his powerful wings and makes thunder and lightning. He brings rains that raise the waters to flood levels; this protects our way of life.

I experienced the influence of a Thunderbird while travelling with my family in the Thompson – Nicola region some years back. There was a day we spent on a mountain when the weather changed at once. The endless blue sky and the perfect view of the sun were gone in a matter of minutes. Without warning, lightening so mighty I could hear it as though right beside me, the thunder was so loud, I watched as it made plants tremble. Ten centimetres of hail fell in just a moment and covered the ground and everything else. Small trees bent over from the weight of the ice; it was in essence, a gesture.
It was very exciting, as fast as it began it was over. The sun was revealed, intact, surrounded by endless blue sky once more. That day, the Thunderbird soared over us and then he was gone.

I have respect for the mountain that showed me its strength that day; I think on it now as Thunder Mountain.

Thomas Cannell

Exhibition(s): Record, (Re)create: Contemporary Coast Salish Art from the Salish Weave Collection