Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Killer Whale

The Killer Whale by Bill Reid really stood out and caught my eye. The intricate carvings on the whale are very Native American in nature. The whale also has these large and jagged teeth which is not typical of an actual killer whale. The rather large fin on the back of the whale also strikes me as odd because while the back fin does stick out on a killer whale, it has been over exaggerated just as the teeth. I believe when this was constructed in 1984, it was not for any specific purpose except decoration.
In actuality, The Killer Whale by Bill Reid was in fact influenced by Native American culture, Haida to be exact. Reid's family were Haida artists and his Great Uncle was the final Haida artist to work within a traditional society. Reid worked to captivate a sense of purity and still use the traditional style of Haida art with out a direct copy of it. It is said that "the traditional Haida vocabulary of curved, flowing lines and crescent-shaped forms are the individual forms of the whale's anatomy is rendered in light of."
Post Research
After my research I found that the carvings on the whale were indeed Native American. Yet they were not just Native American decoration, but actually the Haida vocabulary intertwined on the surface of the whale. It was created out of bronze as a decoration over a pool in the Vancouver Aquarium. I was surprised to find that the decorations were in fact the vocabulary of the Haida people. It is such a wonderful piece and is there not only for decoration but actually an insight to a Native American culture that we may not have known otherwise.

Information courtesy of the following link
Picture courtesy of the following link.

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