Totem

Posted on March 22, 2014 in Inspiration, Nature

Just back from an overnight at Wya Point in Ucluelet and lucked into a glorious sunny day before the rain began. The lodge, set back just a bit from the beach, felt like a treehouse. Through a thin screen of trees, some massive, old broken trunks whose residual branches were draped in moss and lichen looked like ghostly creatures. I could see how the first totem carver might have been inspired to carve a totem. The Japanese totems on Burnaby Mountain, and Hawaiian totems remind me that making trees into human icons is a universal urge. Nature suggests art in all its forms. In Australia a decade ago, looking down from the top of Ayer’s Rock, I saw the pastel pointilistic shapes I subsequently saw in aboriginal art. A close inspection of one’s surroundings was probably originally a survival tactic, but the same process must have led to inspiration for art.

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