Availability: Only 1 available
Red Cedar wood
Only 1 available
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- Additional Information
- Artist Bio
Red Cedar wood
|Dimensions||30 x 23.5 x 1.75"|
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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Yellow Cedar wood, Acrylic paint
“People of the Eagle” Frontlet, masterfully carved and painted by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Barry Scow, represents the Chief and his people of the Eagle clan. True to form of Barry’s fine carving, this frontlet portrays the Eagle with Sun, and commemorates Barry’s link to his Grandfather, who was a Chief, and to his heritage.
A Frontlet is a forehead mask attached to a woven headpiece, worn only by Chiefs and high-ranking individuals in order to display status. This particular frontlet carries the Eagle and Sun motif. The Eagle position belonged to the highest-ranking Chief in the village.
The Eagle lives in the sky, or Upper World, and represents status, power, peace and friendship. Eagle is the Chief of the birds, an honor he shares with the Woodpecker. The Sun is a popular Kwakwaka’wakw motif, used quite regularly in their art. The sun can represent life and creative forces as well as warmth and healing.
To further establish his high position, the Chief practiced a traditional act of discarding his wealth in front of other Chiefs. Much of this wealth was in the form of copper. To break the copper or throw it into the ocean, symbolized that he and his clan were modest of their wealth and that the value of friendship weighed more than the value of material wealth.
To assist the Chief with this historical display of modesty, a subordinate was appointed. The assistant is portrayed below the beak of the Eagle, carved in intricate detail, as one can see in the teeth and tongue of the human face. Another beautiful component of this piece are the Chief’s people, delicately cradled in the beak of the Eagle.
Elk hide, Sinew, Acrylic paint
The drum is considered one of the main percussive instruments, along with the rattle, which was used in traditional Northwest Coast ceremonies and cultural events. Its beat provides the basis from which dances, songs and oral histories are performed during a Potlatch.
The Thunderbird is a supernatural, mythical creature that lives high in the mountains and feeds on Killerwhale. It’s been aptly named for the thunder that rolls off its wings and lightening comes from its eyes when it flies.
Ivory, Abalone, Sterling silver, engraved
For more details on shipping Ivory outside of Canada, please click here and then click open the Shipping section and scroll down to read more on Shipping Restrictions.
Spoons and ladles were traditionally made from either cedar wood or the horn of a mountain sheep, and their handles were carved with family crest images. Historically, these exquisitely sculptured objects were primarily created by people in Northern Nations, and were highly sought after by other nations. During potlatches [festive gatherings], cedar ladles decorated with the hosting family’s crests were used to serve food, while the elaborately carved mountain sheep spoons were distributed as gifts among the many guests.
Today, spoon and ladle productions are based on these traditional objects and are meant to be both objects of function and display. In addition to traditional mediums such as cedar wood, goat or mountain sheep horn, many modern-day spoons and ladles are constructed of gold, silver and pewter.
Other works by this artist
Serigraph, Edition of 50
(For inquiries on custom framing, please contact the gallery)
David Neel’s Box of Daylight uses the modern printmaking technique of serigraphy to create a deeply symbolic rendition of Raven bringing light to the world. In this classic tale, Raven resolved to steal the Sun from an old man who had been keeping it all to himself in an old cedar box. To do so, Raven transformed himself into cedar sprig, and fell into the water of the old man’s daughter. Shortly after drinking this water, the daughter gave birth to a baby boy, who the old man spoiled greatly. Eventually, this little boy convinced his grandfather to let him play with the old cedar box, which he took outside with him. The boy immediately transformed back into the Raven and stole the box away. However, as he was flying, a strong gust of wind blew the cedar box from his mouth, releasing the Sun into the sky. Here the Sun stayed, lighting the earth from that day on.
In this piece, David strives to capture the deeper nature of this ancient tale. As such, Box of Daylight depicts Raven releasing not the Sun, but the Seed of Life, from Sacred Geometry. David’s use of the Seed of Life, which has a profound spiritual significance, highlights the true meaning of the legend. The story of the Raven bringing light to the world, at its most fundamental level, is a metaphor for the creation of the universe. Thus, Box of Light, encoded with this age-old knowledge, offers a glimpse into an ancient world.
“There is a wealth of information in traditional Indigenous tales, which are part of a long-standing oral tradition… While the delivery of the age-old stories may change, the essence of the tradition remains the same.” ~David Neel