The closing artist reception for the "Honor: People and Salmon" exhibit at the Kittredge Gallery was filled with amazing artists, poets, writers, photographers, and an audience filled with people passionate about the health of our rivers, salmon and the ocean.
Coast Salish author Sasha LaPointe read a moving account that brought tears to my eyes and many others in attendance. She recounted a visit to a location on the river where her family used to fish for salmon but had since been covered over with asphalt. This poignant story is but a small piece in the larger loss of salmon habitat that is driving salmon and the people who's livelihood depend on it to near extinction. The efforts currently underway to remove Snake River dams is part of the efforts to restore the natural salmon habitat, run and spawning grounds.
After the reception ended and saying thank you and goodbyes to the organizers and fellow artists I took down my artwork. I was about to head out for a long drive back home when a woman approached and asked me about my artwork. If it was for sale. It turns out that she is a marine ecologist and she said that my painting had reminded her of her experience snorkeling in the Puget Sound and seeing all the kelp and fish under water. This was the best compliment I could have ever received!
I felt lucky to be one of the selected artists to participate in the NWAAE exhibit at the University of Puget Sound Kittredge Gallery tilted: "Honor; People and Salmon".
Artwork Tile: “Mater. Matriarchs of the Sea”
Medium: Watercolor, technical ink pen, acrylic ink on Arches watercolor paper
“Mater. Matriarchs of the Sea” weaves together the richness of cohesive relationships beneath the oceans surface and of people entering the interaction of orcas, salmon and their kelp garden.
It is a portrayal of profound connectedness that speaks to the truth about their places together in a delicate tapestry. It is easy to imagine how this delicate balance can spiral when the eco-balance changes.
It is so easy to fall in love with the elegance and beauty of the streamlined body of the orca, and it’s matrilineal pod coherence. Or the mesmerizing sway of the kelp forests. Or the intelligence of the salmon to find their way back to their place of birth after a long time away in the ocean.
What is not easy is to learn about the slow starvation of orcas that rely almost exclusively on salmon to sustain themselves. The many Snake River dams put in place by humans prevent salmon from reaching the ocean and returning home to their birth place.
The slow decline of the kelp forests by acidification, no longer providing a safe and sheltering habitat for fish, otters and seal.
What is easy is to take action and make it known that what is happening below the water level is devastating to the oceanic ecosystem. This ecosystem that has supported and sustained us for millennia. In return we need to help build this ecosystem back up and make it thrive.
"Now Eos, the yellow-robed arose from the river of Okeanos to carry her light to men and to immortals."
- Homer, Iliad
EOS AT DAWN-MUSE Collection
MUSE Collection of digital/mixed media art.