Clan Unity

Dempsey Bob
Close-up of face on Clan Unity
© Justin Wonnacott
ArtistDempsey Bob
Nationality Tahltan-Tlingit
Medium Cedar and acrylic paint
Dimensions 2.2m x 3.3m
Acquisition Donated by Ridley Terminals Inc.
Date 1985

This installation, titled Clan Unity, is carved from red cedar and detailed using acrylic paint. The theme of the panel is the trade and sharing of ideas and goods. It features symbolism of the four main Northwest Coast Native clans: the Orca, Wolf, Raven, and Eagle. Presented together, the crests represent cultural unity and completeness. Also present is the Raven, who holds the daylight; when Raven brought the light it gave the use of knowledge to the people. Together, the figures in front of the Raven and the Eagle represent the people. The bentwood box presented at the centre of the panel symbolizes trade, referencing traditional boxes used by Indigenous people of the Northwest Coast to carry possessions. The rainbow that arches over the top of the carving represents the exchange of ideas, or goods.

Dempsey Bob, a member of the Wolf Clan, began carving with the master carver Freda Diesing in 1969. By 1974, the Tahltan-Tlingit artist began teaching professionally. He is best known for his carvings of large totem poles located throughout North America and in London, England. Bob also has major artworks included in the collections of the Canadian Museum of History, the National Gallery of Canada, and prominently displayed at the Vancouver International Airport.

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