Margaret August

Northwest Coast Native Artist Margaret August from Coast Salish Nation

Coast Salish (Shíshálh) Nation

Margaret August was born in 1983 and still resides in the unceded Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories (Victoria, British Columbia). They are considered an emerging Coast Salish artist from Shíshálh First Nation who is also Two-Spirited.

While growing up in an urban environment with a strong connection to the community of Lekwungen, they worked on developing their abilities as an artist. At first, they honed their talent for singing and playing music from a young age and, as an adult, sharpened their skills as a visual artist during their time spent with Butch Dick.

Since 2010 they have been exhibiting their work in community art shows and, while they give credit to renowned artists Susan Point, LessLIE, Mark Preston, Luke and John Marston as well as Maynard Johnny Jr. as their influencers, they have created their own unique style of design. In 2013, they began to advance their career utilizing their knowledge in business as well as print making thereby allowing them to become an independent artist.

Since 2017, they mentored under two Coast Salish artists Mark Gauti and Dylan Thomas who provided them with further guidance. During that time, they were able to secure a one-year Emerging Artist project grant from the People’s Cultural Council. This grant lead to them creating serigraph prints and custom works that illustrate the stories of their cultural heritage.

Margaret’s ancestral power crest figure Skw’etu’? influences their art. Skw’étu? means Raven in Shashishalhem language, and he is the one who brings light in darkness. Legends tell us that Raven is the one who stole the sun from the grandfather who hid it away from the world in a box.

Known as the gatekeeper to the universal void where no form or structure exists (only fluidity and continual change), the Raven uses his mythic shape-shifting abilities to teach us life lessons.

Margaret’s experiences and natural artistic talents have given them an awareness of their life’s purpose, and a devotion to creating art that instigates change along with a sense of hopefulness.

Works by this Artist (Present + Past + Public)

Present Works

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  • Good Tidings [Framed]

    Margaret August

    CA$605.00

    Serigraph, Edition 15/100

    Framed

    “’Good tidings’ depicts a contemporary otter design inspired by traditional Coast Salish house posts. Originally a canvas painting, I felt compelled to create a contemporary piece in the work after reviewing photographs of house post artifacts. House posts typically show mythical creatures associated with family history, notable ancestors, events which displayed ancestors’ spirit powers, or magical privileges of the family. They were also placed into the large winter house orating the long history, wealth and high status of the family. Otters often appeared on Salish house posts, they were considered to bring good messages, and were considered to be trickster figures.  I personally set the intention to persevere in the continuum of Coast Salish traditions.” – Margaret August 2024

  • Whorl of Transformation [Framed]

    Margaret August

    CA$650.00

    Serigraph, Edition 9/100

    Framed

    “This design depicts salmon, with an asymmetrical moon face, inspired by a spindle whorl artifact.

    I say that salmon, like all animal medicine, has a spiritual meaning and some of the main themes you can find with salmon medicine is abundance, fertility, prosperity and renewal.

    [It] is inspired by the use of Coast Salish spindle whorls, which have been known to be predominantly used by women, and their ability to produce beautiful textiles which had social and spiritual significance. The disc like shape would be designed with unique designs for which was to give the wool spinner a trance like experience for healing and transformation. Today, weaving continues to be a vibrant expression of cultural identity.  Salish weavers consist of self-identified women, two-spirit people, and trans people.” – Margaret August 2024

  • Perpetual Salish Bentwood Box

    Margaret August

    CA$3,400.00

    Red Cedar wood, Yellow Cedar wood, Acrylic paint

    “This abstract design is actively moving forward practices that are rooted daily in their traditions and the issues of the present world. This design on a traditional bentwood box is to invite viewers to recognize the rich wealth of tradition inherent in the art of this region and to gain an understanding that, alongside its perpetuation, there are new ideas, inspirations, and contexts to which Salish artists today, respond and address.” – Margaret August 2024

    Specific and unique to the Northwest Coast People is the bentwood or bent-corner box or container. A most outstanding item of the First Nations people, it is a made from one single plank of wood through a lengthy steaming process – a method strictly adapted by the coastal peoples.

  • “Salmon Meidine” Paddle

    Margaret August

    CA$3,000.00

    Yellow Cedar wood, Acrylic paint

    “Salmon are considered the keepers of wisdom and inner knowing who despite strong river currents, will always return to the place of its creation. Their determination is driven by that very wisdom of instinct and inner knowing. Coming full circle, salmon finish what they begin, bringing cycles to closure.” – Margaret August 2024

  • “Rejuvenate” White Raven Paddle

    Margaret August

    CA$3,000.00

    Yellow Cedar wood, Acrylic paint

    According to Margaret, white ravens, which are rare, signify a form of spiritual cleanse. For this reason and all the other medicine that nature has to offer, this design seeks to encourage the viewer to deepen their connection with nature.

    To the Indigenous Peoples of the Northwest coast, Raven is a central figure who transformed the world by bringing light to it.

  • Spinning through Time

    Margaret August

    CA$2,800.00

    Acrylic paint on canvas

    “This is a contemporary Coast Salish spindle whorl design. Traditionally, the art displayed on spindle whorls was said to give the weaver a “trance-like” experience. The designs on these sacred heirlooms were said to give the wool spinner specific kinds of spiritual experiences for the intended purpose of healing, transformation and protection.

    This design uses Coast Salish elements in a symmetrical pattern, for the intended purpose of giving the viewer a ‘spiritual awakening’. This type of experience is a subjective one but one that encompasses an infinite sense of truth and reality.” – Margaret August 2023

  • Wolf Bentwood Box

    Margaret August

    CA$1,800.00

    Red Cedar wood, Yellow Cedar wood, Acrylic paint

    “Wolves are known to be protectors, loyal and they live in packs. Each wolf has a rank and role in their pack.  There are coastal wolves in the southern parts of BC and, most specifically on Vancouver Island. They are so unique to other wolves in Canada, because they mostly feast on sea life and travel along the shorelines. This bentwood box signifies their existence and for those who relate to the characteristics of this sacred animal species.”  – Margaret August 2024

    Specific and unique to the Northwest Coast People is the bentwood or bent-corner box or container. A most outstanding item of the First Nations people, it is a made from one single plank of wood through a lengthy steaming process – a method strictly adapted by the coastal peoples.

  • Elapsed Time (AP)

    Margaret August

    CA$280.00

    Serigraph, Artist Proof, Edition of 10

    Unframed

    (For inquiries on custom framing, please contact the gallery)

    Why an Artist Proof?

    The artist proof is often the first proof or set of proofs that the artist “pulls” to ensure that the image is printing to the desired effect. The Artist Proof holds a higher value than a regular edition piece due to its rarity as well as the possibility that they can contain the visual evidence of the artist’s progress. Artist Proofs are typically owned and kept by the artist so they are rarely released.

  • Magic is Near Paddle

    Margaret August

    CA$3,000.00

    Red Cedar wood, Acrylic paint

    “If Raven has appeared, you are about to experience a change in consciousness. Raven is the messenger that carries all energy flows of ceremonial magic between the ceremony itself and the intended destination. May you open yourself to the beauty of magic that Raven has to offer.” – Margaret August 2024

  • Serpents Bentwood Box

    Margaret August

    CA$2,000.00

    Red Cedar wood, Yellow Cedar wood, Acrylic paint

    “Ch’inkwu, is a Shíshálh word for double headed serpent. This design symbolizes rebirth and power. Serpents represent the earth and underworld with each head representing as one. This design was inspired by the historic Shíshálh pictographs in their territory.” – Margaret August 2024

    Specific and unique to the Northwest Coast People is the bentwood or bent-corner box or container. A most outstanding item of the First Nations people, it is a made from one single plank of wood through a lengthy steaming process – a method strictly adapted by the coastal peoples.