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Eagle, Killerwhale, Chief with Copper, Bear with Salmon
64 x 26 x 12"
Coast Salish (Tsawout) Nation
Tom LaFortune is a member of the Tsawout First Nation whose ancestral connections reside in the southern part of what is now known as Vancouver Island. Tom completed his first carving when he was just 11 years old, and has advanced to carving masks, rattles, paddles, dishes, talking sticks, single figures and totem poles. He has also made and painted drums. Tom’s work is often distinguished by its stylistic fluidity and refined use of color.
Tom LaFortune’s works can be found in collections worldwide; most notably his totem poles. These include Harvest Time and Owl Spirit poles completed for Duncan’s City of Totem project, a commission by CBC which was featured on television coverage of the 1994 Commonwealth Games, a single owl figure overlooking the Ross Fountain at the world famous Butchart Gardens in Victoria, S’ael, a twenty-five foot pole completed as part of Royal Roads University’s 75 years of changing lives celebrations, and a Salish arch for the Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site.
Tom lives with his partner, Doreen, in the Victoria area, close to his two sons and daughter and a large extended family.
Red Cedar wood, Yellow Cedar wood, Abalone shell, Acrylic paint, Leather
The carving of flutes of the Northwest Coast extends back historically through time. The dramatic importance of the flute was indicated by the variety of specialized whistles, each of which was produced to make specific tones. Songs and dances were part fo all ceremony and ritual, a fundamental element of the inherited privilege. Equally important were the many whistles and other musical instruments that were specifically designated for most dances. Wooden whistles of one, two or three shafts, each with several holes and reeds produced a strong and clear note. Flutes and whistles were traditionally blown in the woods to introduce the cermonial season. Every instrument was the object of time, skill and concern and was considered by those who owned it as a necessary part of the family’s collection