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Salmon Spawning Run

Susan Point. Canadian. Coast Salish (Musqueam First Nation), 1952-

Created: 2012
Materials:Carved and painted Western red cedar

Native to British Columbia, Washington and Oregon, the Coast Salish First Peoples consist of several groups with distinct languages but similar customs. Each group has a strong spiritual connection to the land and water of the Pacific Northwest, which has provided their livelihood for thousands of years. Working to preserve this heritage, artist Susan Point has spent years researching and studying the few documented examples of traditional Salish designs. Her knowledge of the style and meaning behind the imagery allows her to honor the traditions of her ancestors while expanding on the designs in a contemporary way. Through her powerful works, Point is helping to revive not only Salish design but also an international interest in Coast Salish culture.

The red cedar roundel Salmon Spawning Run features carved and painted salmon and clusters of eggs. Much more than stylized images of animals, the salmon characters reflect the great significance of the salmon as giver of life to the Musqueam First Nation, as well as shared universal concerns of preservation of the environment and sustainability.  The vibrant eggs complete the fish’s lifecycle, as the renewal of wild salmon (still caught using traditional methods) is critical to keeping Mother Earth in balance.

Salmon Spawning Run is installed in the wood gallery at Mint Museum Uptown.

Project Ten Ten Ten commission. Museum Purchase: Funds provided by Fleur Bresler, Libba and Mike Gaither, Laura and Mike Grace, Betsy and Brian Wilder, Amy and Alfred Dawson, Aida and Greg Saul, Missy Luczak Smith and Doug Smith, Beth and Drew Quartapella, and Kim Blanding. 2012.107.  Art © Susan Point 2012. Image © Mint Museum of Art, Inc. © Susan Point, 2012.