First Nations Art captured me as a small child. Apparently as a toddler I had a substantial enough temper that my Grandfather gave my parents the 1961 stone cut print by Mikkikak entitled "Little Devil" to hang in my bedroom.
The matching Thunderbird sculptures on my grandparent's mantle watched over my childhood. Beautiful ebony with subdued colours on their heads and wings. Unspoken, the Thunderbirds were sacred. They held power. An undeniable force. The triggers of intellectual and spiritual connected, creating sparks. Those sculptures still create sparks for me decades on.
After a long search for the right work, we have a First Nations work of art arriving from a private collection, a Norval Morrisseau piece entitled "Shaman's Vision". The bright and bold joy of the grandfather of Indigenous art in Canada shines through. The crown jewel for me is the inclusion of the mighty Thunderbird.
Provenance: Gallery Purchase from Artist, Private Collection
Printed with the permission of the Spirits fo the West Coast Art Gallery:
The Thunderbird Symbol
The Native Thunderbird Symbol represents power, protection and strength. He is often seen as the most powerful of all spirits and can also transform into human form by opening his head up like a mask and taking his feathers off as if they were a mere blanket. Under his wings are lightning snakes, which he uses as his tool or weapon.
Thunderbird Symbol and First Nations
The Thunderbird is a mythical creature that is said to be the dominating force of all natural activity. Located in the Pacific North Western Mountains, the Thunderbird creates booms of thunder by flapping his wings, and shoots bolts of lightning from his eyes, when hunters got too close to his home.
Norval Morrisseau, CM
a.k.a. Copper Thunderbird
Recipient: Order of Canada
Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek First Nation
Member: Indian Group of Seven
Founder: Woodlands School of Canadian Art
Considered the Mishomis (Grandfather) of Indigenous Art in Canada