Title/Date: “Blue Herons”, 2008
Artist: Susan Point
Culture/Language Group: Coast Salish
Media: Carved and painted red cedar
Credit Line: SFU Art Collection, on loan from the Salish Weave Collection
Location: Atrium, TASC 1
Susan Point has dedicated this artwork to the Fraser River, which inspired the look of the piece, and on whose shores her people have prospered for generations. The sculptures are a contemporary interpretation of traditional Coast Salish house posts containing imagery that reflects the land, sea and sky, and the connections between all forms of life with the earth.
The artist proofs, currently on display at SFU, were originally commissioned by the City of Richmond for the Olympic Skating oval. Each panel was cast in concrete and placed on the exterior buttresses of the building as water runnels. The runnels incorporate both positive and negative elements to channel the water off of the building. Much like a river changes with the seasons, as time passes these elements will also change.
A central figure in each design is the heron. The heron is a prominent bird featured in many Coast Salish legends and depicted on traditional Salish implements. The design also depicts salmon, which symbolically represents the river delta. Salmon are an important species to all Coastal First Nations. They are seen as the givers of life, and their presence nourishes the entire ecosystem.
Susan Point describes her work:
Additional Information - Blue Herons
The Salish Weave Collection is a private collection of contemporary Coast Salish art that weaves together the distinctive forms and designs of established and emerging artists. The collection has travelled to various museums and galleries throughout the world.
City of Richmond. Report to Committee- Attachment 4: Artist Description. 2006. Web. http://www.richmond.ca/__shared/assets/071706_ovalitem214411.pdf
Coast Salish Art:
Blanchard, R. and Nancy Davenport.. Contemporary Coast Salish Art. 2005. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Print.
Brotherton, Barbara (ed.).. Sabadeb, the Gifts: Pacific Coast Salish Art and Artists. 2008. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Print.
The Burke Museum. Coast Salish Art. 2015. Web. http://www.burkemuseum.org/coastsalishart
Lawrence, Toby lessLIE, and India Young. Record, (re)create: contemporary Coast Salish art from the Salish Weave Collection. 2012. Victoria: Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Print
Artist Website: http://susanpoint.com/
Wyatt, G. and Michael Kew. Susan Point: Coast Salish artist. 2000. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Print.