wow!! What a huge sculpture
bronze sculpture “Spirit of Haida Gwaii” or the Jade Canoe, by Bill Reid. On display at the Vancouver International Airport Departures level. As with all First Nations artwork, it depicts a legend. Will add more asap. The little boy gives an idea of the scale of the bronze sculpture.
The Spirit of Haida Gwaii features Raven and Eagle, the two principal Haida lineages that are coequal and represent two halves of a whole. The sculpture encompasses mythical creatures, animals, men and women, who together symbolize not just one culture but the entire family of living beings. The canoe is filled to overflowing with creatures who bite and claw one another as they doggedly paddle along. From left to right, the creature sitting in the bow is Grizzly Bear, facing Bear Mother. Between them are their two Bear cub offspring, creatures that grew out of a children’s poem by A.A. Milne. Next are: Beaver, who lived on the ocean floor hoarding all the fresh water and fish in the world; Dogfish Woman, with a great hooked beak, gill slits on her cheek, and a pointed head; and Mouse Woman, the traditional guide to those who travel from the human world to the non-human realms of Haida mythology. At the stern is the steersman, Raven; he seems intent on manoeuvring the boat in a particular direction, but he may change course as his whim dictates. Beneath Raven’s wing is a human figure, the grudging oarsman; he represents all the common people who labour to build and rebuild, stoically obeying orders and performing tasks allotted to them. Arched across the centre of the boat is Wolf, with his hind claws in Beaver’s back and his teeth in Eagle’s wing. Beneath Eagle is Frog. The prominent central figure is a shaman, the Haida chief Kilstlaai. As a symbol of authority he holds a speaker’s staff; on the top of the staff is Killer Whale.