Thursday, January 15, 2009

Saturday Photo Hunt - Hat

This wonderful canoe sculpture, Spirit of Haida Gwaii is by the late Haida artist Bill Reid and sits at the end of the figurative river in the Grand Hall of the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec. It represents a Haida canoe crammed with a bewildering variety of paddlers and passengers.

The white sculpture is the original plaster pattern used to cast the bronze sculpture at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. The prominent central figure wearing the big hat is a shaman, the Haida chief Kilstlaai. As a symbol of authority he holds a speaker's staff; on the top of the staff is Killer Whale.

The Spirit of Haida Gwaii features Raven and Eagle, the two principal Haida lineages that are coequal and represent two halves of a whole. The sculpture encompasses mythical creatures, animals, men and women, who together symbolize not just one culture but the entire family of living beings. The canoe is filled to overflowing with creatures who bite and claw one another as they doggedly paddle along.

The photo is a scan of a 35mm photo I took in 1999.


  1. wow that was interesting. Judith

  2. Hi Elaine - thanks for being my 1st follower on Judith's Neck of the Woods!!! I think I'm getting a bit carried away this blogging lark lol Judith

  3. interesting! and I like the sculpture too:) I wonder how the bronze work looks. The sculpture looks impressive even in plaster work. my hat entry is here

  4. What a hat! And such an interesting story. Would be so nice to visit that museum.
    Thanks for visiting.

  5. Stunning photos Elaine! My wife and I visited the Museum of Civilization last summer and were over whelmed. We Canadians have done something very very right.

    We spent the entire day there and plan to return.

  6. Interesting hat photo and interesting story too! :)

  7. Great with the story about the hats aswell...

  8. I know that sculpture well Elaine, living in Vancouver and having visited Bill Reid's studio one time. A copy is at our airport but of course the place it was made for is in Washington DC, at the Canadian Embassy, which I also visited and photographed.

    Good photo for the theme.

    Sorry I'm late returning your visit. Have a good week.