The Intrigue of Salish Weave

Gifted to NLPS, Salish Weave is a collection of contemporary Coast Salish art that weaves together distinct art form, design, and style. The 27 Coast Salish original art prints impart an abundance of teachings for all K-7 cross curricular content areas.

Artist techniques include traditional and contemporary design, use of crescents, trigons, ovoids, and split U, visual punning, colour symbolism, and much more. Some themes include, stories and legends, language, spirit, relationships, place names, respect for Mother Nature and all species, importance of salmon, cultural appropriation, and colonial practices. And images evoke political, environmental, social, cultural conversations, as well as conversations on traditional and non-traditional values.

How engaging is Salish Weave in the classroom? Check out lessLie’s Cultural CununDRUM. This piece portrays a Starbucks image robed in traditional symbols. The mermaid is immersed in earth symbols, where the hair can be interpreted as water, mermaid tails are salmon, and the crown is a salmon crown. Starbucks began on Coast Salish Territory which begins a conversation about land. The crown on the mermaid is symbolic of government. Starbucks coffee house is a gathering place, as was the traditional land and sacred places for Coast Salish people. The Starbucks image was originally painted on a drum to change Starbucks music to traditional drumming. The entire image then becomes a parody of culture.

The Salish Weave collection celebrates eight emerging Coast Salish artists:
Luke Marston, John Marston, Andy Everson, Susan A. Point, Dylan Thomas, Maynard Johnny Jr., lessLie, Chris Paul

All artists masterfully present distinctions between Coast Salish art and Northwest Coast art. They merge traditional and contemporary stories, images, and techniques. The artists are committed to ongoing cultural revival, celebrations, and preservation of Coast Salish art and traditions. The artists’ work has been exhibited at the University of Victoria, UBC, Vancouver International Airport, Museum of Anthropology, National Gallery of Canada, and in galleries worldwide.

You can access artist biographies, artist statements, teaching resources, and K-12 lessons on our Salish Weave page. The collection will be circulated throughout the district and available in our Aboriginal Resource Centre in the Fall 2020.