Skana (killer whale)
1994, edition of 195, serigraph
signed, titled. numbered
on 100% rag paper, museum quality
Skana is the Haida (coastal British Columbian native people) word for killer whale and as such represents a being of many dimensions. According to native myths skana live beneath the sea in houses and villages where they assume the shape of killler whale people. As such they can also transform themselves and walk on land mingling in the lives of people.
One story tells of a hunter whose prowess in hunting sea-lions aroused the jealousy of his brothers-in-law, all except the youngest. The jealous in-laws abandoned the hunter, taking with them his canoe and leaving him both stranded and wounded. He was taken by a sea-gull to the house of the Chief of the Sea Lions whose son was also wounded and whom the hunter cured. As reward the grateful chief gave the hunter a sea-lion skin canoe in which to return home. After returning the hunter carved two killer whales out of yellow cedar and sent them to destroy his fraternal inlaws. After this killer-whales, or orca, were instructed to help all men and never harm them.
The sea-lion profiles in the tail of this print refer to this story while the shaman, or Indian doctor, riding the dorsal fin of skana refers to the orca’s traditional role as a spiritual stead, a powerful, helping spirit. The salmon in the belly of the killer represents the main food of both the killer whale and the native people of the Northwest Coast.
This work has been hand-printed on 100% cotton rag paper of archival museum quality. It was printed by Jim Hunziker in conjuction with the artist during the summer of 1994 on Vashon Island, near Seattle, Washington.

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