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Susan A. Point is a Coast Salish native artist. She was born in 1952 and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Susan has immersed herself in the study of traditional Coast Salish art, and emerged with a language of design, both authentic yet vibrantly contemporary. As well as practicing traditional motifs, Susan also expresses her own personal style. Like many native artists, she uses the meaning found in traditional art to create innovative work in a wide range of mediums. Susan initially began producing fine art in precious metals, serigraphs and acrylic paintings; however, she is now producing large scale public art in mediums which include glass, wood, stainless steel and concrete. Many of Susan’s works can currently be found in private and corporate collections in over twenty countries around the world.
From the Artist: "Coast Salish art is relatively unknown to most people today as it was an almost lost art form after European contact -- the reason being is that Salish lands were the first to be settled by the Europeans which adversely affected my Peoples’ traditional life-style.
Today, much of the native art associated with the Pacific Northwest Coast is from principle tribes of northern British Columbia. Because of this, over the years, I spent a great deal of my time, as a Coast Salish artist, trying to revive traditional Coast Salish art in an attempt to educate the public to the fact that there was, and still is, another art form indigenous to the central Pacific Northwest Coast.
Although most of my earlier work is very traditional, today, I am experimenting with contemporary mediums and themes; however, I still incorporate my ancestral design elements into my work to conditioning as well as social and economic conditions.
In creating my art, I feel a need to continually express my cultural background and beliefs yet, at the same time, my work continues to evolve with changes within and outside of my community."
2007 British Columbia Creative Achievement Award for First Nations' Art
The Beaver appears in Northwest mythology and is a family crest in many regions throughout the Northwest Coast. According to legend, the first Beaver was a woman, whose husband frequently went on long hunting and fishing trips. In his absence, his lonely wife took solace swimming, enlarging her pond with a dam and building her own water dwelling. Eventually, she transformed into a Beaver and their children were Beaver People, founding the Beaver lineage.
In mythology, they are often associated with the powerful undersea supernatural beings and the magic Giant Beaver can cause natural disaster with one slap of its wide, strong tail. Characterisically, the Beaver is known to keep to himself and cares little for the activities of the humans, except when they are directly affected. Thus, they often give wise advice so it is important to listen when they do decide to speak.