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Exclusive to Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery
Glass; Etched and sandblasted (Glass thickness 12mm)
Every Household and every clan possessed its own history and traditions in the form of myths and legends. Often describing how an individual had met a supernatural being, in animal form, who had given ownership of certain privileges. These privileges are a highly important part of First Nations life and are retained by particular family groups through their laws of inheritance. Privileges gave an individual status in the community and were more highly valued than any material possession.
In reality there were rights, such as the right to use a figure on a house post, wear a mask or to perform a dance at a ceremony. Very typical of these legends was the tale of Natcitlaneh, who was abandoned on an island by his brothers-in-law, who were jealous of his prowess as a hunter. He was rescued by the sea lions and taken to their village in a cave, where in gratitude for his healing their Chief, gave him supernatural powers which enabled him to carve eight wooden Killerwhales. These came to life when they were placed in the sea and avenged him by killing his brothers-in-law. As a mark of respect, Natcitlaneh built a house and named it Killerwhale House. According to legend the ancestors visited the house, located at the bottom of the ocean and obtained the right to use the Killerwhale as a crest. The Killerwhale was said to have originated from a single great white wolf that leaped into the sea and transformed itself into a Killerwhale, or Orca. That is why they have the white markings on their sides, travel in packs and are such skilled hunters. The Orca is considered to be the ocean manifestation of the wolf and the two animals are considered to be directly related.
Another beautiful legend tells that long ago Orca was one color, black and she lived in the water like all fish. Then she fell in love with Osprey and he with her. The Orca wanted to know so badly what it felt like to fly so she leapt farther and farther out of the water to be close to her love and Osprey spent more and more time close to the water to be near his love. Love has a way of making itself shown and expressed, and when their child was born, she was black like Orca, but with a white belly and head like the Osprey. The Orca has a song so beautiful that all creation is said to stop and listen to the Orca and that to be splashed by the Orca is to ensure great luck and happiness.
Chaz’s beautifully sculptured glass Killerwhales pay tribute to First Nation culture, oral history and traditions. These are testament to an ideology in which we are all interconnected and part of the greater whole- each related and affecting the other.