Alert Bay Totems



on canvas.

Dimensions 36 × 36 in

1 in stock



The Inspiration

If you have an “artists eye”, take a look at the wind and weather blasted old growth forest in Strathcona Park. It is not difficult to see what inspired the First Nations wood carvers.

They carved not only totem poles, but everything made of wood (especially Red Cedar which is easy to carve and is resistant to rot). Since they were a wood culture, everything came from the forest, even the cloths they wore were made from cedar bark.

However, think of the totem poles. The thunderbird or eagle at the top, the Raven was very important, also the beaver, wolf, and even the lowly frog represents a family group.

With very little imagination, you can see these forms in the forest. Especially the old growth snags or “veterans” as the foresters call them. These trees can be up to 500 years old. Often the top has been struck by lightning! Look again, you see the outstretched limbs! There is the thunderbird rising up, its flapping wings, the lightning, and when it opens its eyes, a lightning flash!

You can also imagine the terror of these primitive people. The mad woman of the woods that could carry your child away (probably a hungry bear, cougar or wolf). The forest was alive with danger, wild animals dominated before the introduction of fire arms killed them off.

In 40 years of hiking and timber cruising, I have only seen one cougar and it was a great honour for me!