Availability: Only 1 available
17 x 4 x 4″
Only 1 available
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- Additional Information
- Artist Bio
17 x 4 x 4″
Marcel Russ was born March 10, 1973 in Queen Charlotte City, Haida Gwaii. Marcel Russ is from the Raven Clan there. Haida parents after whom he takes his rightful place as a Haida, according to the clan system, raised him. Major influences in his life have been his culture, the lifestyle, and the values of his people. Being raised with the influences of native heritage helped to shape his unique world view, values and beliefs. Artisans who influenced him from an early age were his father Ron Russ, Grandfather and his uncle, Chris Russ. The Russ’s are well known argillite carvers of the Haida Nation, and his ancestors on his grandmother’s side were also renowned carvers.
Marcel began argillite carving at the age of eight and started carving in wood when he was twelve. His argillite and wood carvings have been collected internationally and one of his pieces can be seen at the Museum of Northern British Columbia. In the spring of 1999 he exhibited with his father at the Museum of Man in New York.
Marcel’s art reflects his interest in the complexity of multiple meanings. Raven, the trickster figure especially inspires him – a figure of great power with human weakness writ large. Currently, he explores the movement of transforming identities, the animal and human world, the changing shapes of the Raven, the Human, the Sea Wolf and the Killerwhale.
One of Marcel’s goals is to document on film his carving of a totem pole, from the selection of the tree to the pole raising ceremony. He also looks forward to writing a book about his art, the culture of his peoples and his travels.
Marcel likes to carve intricate designs out of argillite and wood. Marcel’s work often incorporates contemporary ideas into traditional design. Each piece of work that he starts has to be ‘finished’ in his mind before he picks up his tools that will bring it to life. Carving is not a career or hobby for Marcel, it is a dedication to the beauty and strength of his heritage. Through his carving, he hopes to create an awareness and respect for the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest.
Marcel resides in Prince Rupert with his family.
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Price upon request
Argillite, Abalone shell, Mother of Pearl, Catlanite
This ornately detailed panel pipe inlayed with catlanite, abalone shell and mother of pearl tells the ancient story of Nanasimgit.
The man or Nanasimgit is depicted at the bottom of the pipe holding skils to represent his stature. It shows the numerous potlatches he has held. The following story is a shortened version as told by the artist, Christian White:
One day, the man’s wife was washing sea otter skins near the ocean, when a Killerwhale arose from the surface. It coaxed her into the water and carried her seaward while her husband watched in disbelief. Without hesitation, he quickly decided to follow them until the Killerwhale dove near a two-headed kelp, which prevented him from going any further. He was feeling quite distraught as he returned back to the village but by then he had decided to seek the help of his uncle, the Frog.
The Frog offered him advice on how he could get his wife back and suggested that he take specific objects with him for his journey. He brought spruce root twine, a gimlet and medicine, placing them in his canoe. But, before he embarked on his journey, he was urged to undergo a fast in order to cleanse his body, which involved various rituals.
Once the fast was completed, the man embarked on his quest until he came across the kelp he had encountered before. He tied his canoe to the kelp along with his possessions and climbed down beneath the surface to find himself in another world. He followed a path where he encountered three blind women that resembled Geese. He used his medicine to cure two of the women while the third one chose not to accept the medicine. The cured women vowed to repay him for his deed. As he proceeded onward, the man came across two slaves, from the Killerwhale clan, chopping wood. As they proceeded to chop the wood, the head of their axe fell off and they began to cry knowing the consequences they would face from the Chief. The man stopped to assist them and in return they directed him to his wife’s dwelling. The slaves warned the man of the watchmen pole that stood in front of the longhouse protecting the inhabitants. The watchmen had the ability to scent out and watch out for intruders.
While he proceeded further on his path and thought about how to divert the watchmen, the man encountered a Heron repairing a canoe without success. The man stopped to offer him his gimlet to successfully repair the canoe. In return for his generosity, the Heron helped conceal the man under his wing blanket from the Black Whale guards and the watchmen. He successfully entered the longhouse to happily find his wife. At this point, the watchmen discovered the man taking his wife back with him, but were unable to stop him.
When the man arrived back with his wife to his village he felt a different connection with her, as though she was not herself. At night, he would keep her in a bentwood box, but one morning when he awoke, to his surprise she escaped. She left to be with her Killerwhale family and fully transformed into a Killerwhale. This was the last he saw of her.