Dylan Thomas, Mandala, 2010, acrylic on canvas; The Moon and the Pond, 2011, acrylic on canvas; Eagles Housepost, 2010, serigraph, ed. 36/200. Gift of the Salish Weave Collection of George and Christiane Smyth, 2021. Photo: Rachel Topham Photography.

Seven works by Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas’s designs are personal — emotional and spiritual expressions — while encompassing an inherent connection to Coast Salish culture and legend. With their circular form and complex interplay between the negative and positive elements of circles, crescents, and trigons, the paintings Mandala and The Moon and the Pond reference spindle Coast Salish whorls. Mandala combines Thomas’s Salish roots with his interest in Buddhist symbolism with its elaborate circle within a square motif. The Moon and the Pond, was inspired by a Zen poem which points to a lesson of acceptance. Thomas’s Eagles Housepost is a contemporary, two-dimensional take on the tradition of carving house posts. Coast Salish people did not traditionally create full-sized totems poles as is typical in more northern Coastal Indigenous communities. Instead they chose to design welcoming figures and decorated their house posts with various designs that sometimes-represented family crests, an event or ceremony.

Dylan Thomas (Qwul'thilum) is a Coast Salish artist and is a member of the Lyackson First Nation. Thomas has studied Salish art along with other forms of traditional geometric art. His work has also been deeply influenced by Vajrayana Buddhist mandalas, Celtic knots, Islamic tessellations, and many other ancient geometric art traditions. Thomas’s unique style expresses concern for the health of the land and our relationship with it. He integrates layers of historical knowledge through stories of Salish origin with complex geometric designs from the contemporary world.