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Sterling silver, Abalone shell, Engraved
Only 1 available
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- Additional Information
- Artist Bio
Sterling silver, Abalone shell, Engraved
|Dimensions||1.25 x 6 "|
David Neel has been creating art in the Kwakwaka’wakw style for over thirty years. His paintings, printmaking, carvings, and jewelry are all informed by his heritage, which includes several successful artists: Dave Neel Sr., his father; Ellen Neel, his grandmother; Mungo Martin, his great-great uncle; and Charlie James, his great-great-great grandfather. While many of his pieces are more contemporary in their material and design, Neel learned carving in the traditional style by his family and peers in his father’s village.
While Neel portrays meaningful stories and traditional values in all of his pieces, he says he finds jewelry the most impactful art form. He appreciates the fact that clients attach their own meaning to his jewelry and that it is used to mark important, personal events in people’s lives.
Neel has exhibited his work in many public institutions, including solo exhibitions at: the National Portrait Gallery of Canada; The Smithsonian Institution – NMAI; the Venice Biennale, and his work is represented in numerous public collections. His children are following in family legacy; studying art at the Emily Carr University and working with their father.
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The Killerwhale, sometimes called the Orca, is an important crest symbol, associated with family, power, strength, dignity and communication. In Pacific Northwest Coast Indigenous culture, every clan possesses its own history and traditions in the form of myths and legends. These legends explain how the ancestors of each clan acquired ownership of certain privileges, often gifted to them during an encounter with a powerful supernatural being. These privileges are a highly important part of First Nations life, and are retained by particular family groups through their laws of inheritance.
Mating once for life and thought to be the reincarnation of great chiefs, Killerwhales are considered to be the protectors of mankind. Although they are known to capsize canoes and drag the inhabitants to their deep-sea dwellings, they are also reputed to act as guides to humans caught within storms.
According to ancient oral traditions, Killerwhale Clans live in Killerwhale Villages deep within the ocean. When at home, they remove their outer skins and live as large humans. This legend serves as David Neel’s inspiration for the Orca Pod Panel.
“Orca Pod Panel is inspired by the family group, the pod, that is the social order for Killerwhales throughout their lives. They are known for being highly intelligent animals and are a prominent crest animal among all the Northwest coast Indigenous peoples. It is one of the main crests of my family. In our ancient stories there is a village under the sea, almost like another dimension or realm, where orcas transform from and to human form.” ~ David Neel, 2019
14K Yellow Gold, Platinum, Engraved
The Bear and the Wren are two figures who play significant roles in the oral history of Northwest Coast. The Bear is one of the most important figures in crest and shamanic art, and is referred to as the Master of the Forest and the Elder Kinsman. Bears are considered to be a close relation to mankind, and are therefore seen as the link between the human and non-human realms, or between the natural and the supernatural. As a crest figure, the Bear symbolizes courage, strength, authority and learned humility.
Although the Bear is featured in many legends and superstitions on the Northwest Coast, the Wren is a much less common figure in oral tradition. Alongside the Raven, the Otter, and the Mink, the Wren was one of the first creatures to exist in the beginning of the world. Due to its magical and spiritual qualities, the Wren was associated with eliminating many of the creatures on earth. It is most commonly depicted on masks, often with the features of both human and bird.
According to the oral traditions of the Pacific Northwest Coast, there was once a confrontation between the Bear and the Wren. One day, both creatures were out in the forest when the Bear decided to bully the Wren. The Bear bragged about his larger size, threatening to crush the Wren. Undaunted, the Wren gathered up a few twigs, and flew inside of the Bear through his nose. Once he reached the Bear’s stomach, the Wren started a fire and quickly flew out again. It was this story that inspired the imagery seen on this pendant.