I would love to believe this illustration was honoring the 4,000 (+) Aboriginal men and women who voluntarily enlisted in the second world war. The gun raised in the air representing the large proportion of First Nations who were sharp shooters. The Hudson Bay Company color coat and stripes around his legs makes me think otherwise. The artist’s totem pole rendering is puzzling. Closest in style to the Kwakwaka’wakw tribe; the two creatures depicted are supernatural beings. On top is Thunderbird, so large it can lift whales out of the ocean. The one on the bottom -I’m pretty certain,
though the outstretched arms isn’t a common way to depict her**- is wild woman of the forest, Dzunk’wa, the cannibal spirit. Why did the artist choose these two beings? Other than the fact they are both terrifying and powerful. I hope it wasn’t as simple as aesthetic reasons when the poles carry significant meaning to coastal First Nations.Then again, this is the art of war.
Last installment of behind the attic wall & my favorite of it all: illustrative depictions of women during world war two!
** I’ve found there’s a totem pole like the drawing in Stanley Park but I could only find a picture of Dzunk’wa on the bottom. Later in the day I picked up a 1978 CAA Explore Canada reference reader, that was going into the recycle bin.
Ha! Something in the universe swept in and said “Oh, you think you know a thing or two, do you?” There’s no photo credit to where it is or who carved it and in fact when I look closely at it, it looks like a model not a true totem… is it a new moon?… wow, yes it is.