'Ancient Killerwhale' by Reg Davidson

Douglas Reynolds Gallery Haida Orca Print Native prints Vancouver Reg Davidson prints Robert Davidson art

Native Art Prints just received Reg Davidson's new limited edition print, titled Ancient Killerwhale. It measures 27" x 18" and is from an edition of 175. It is priced at $360 CAD. At first glance, this design resembles a bentwood box composition. The whale figure is not explicit; hence Reg's "ancient" designation. The head of the whale is in the upper right quadrant of the piece, with teeth showing, and a green labret. Below the head, in the lower right quadrant, is a crouching human figure, representing an ancestor. The lower left quadrant is comprised of a compressed pectoral fin, along with the tail flukes. And finally, the upper left corner contains what can be interpreted as the figure's dorsal fin.

The Killerwhale, also known as the Orca, is a primary crest within many Northwest Coast Native cultures. The Killerwhale can also be found along the west coast of North America throughout the year. Killerwhale clans connect themselves to the sea, where their ancestors are said to have once lived at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. There are many legends that tell of Killerwhales tipping canoes and bringing the occupants to their villages at the bottom of the ocean, and of whales guiding people to safety when they are caught on the water. All along the coast, fishers and hunters often apply Killerwhale designs to their canoes and paraphernalia. These depictions often include human elements, such as a human face in the blowhole or tail flukes. The human elements within these depictions may represent the artist, the artist’s connection to their clan, or an image of transformation. Generally, Killerwhales symbolize longevity, communication and strength within Northwest Coast art and culture.

Reg Davidson, Haida, is from the Eagle Clan. He began carving in 1972. His influences include: brother Robert Davidson, father Claude Davidson, grandmother Florence Davidson, great grandfather Charles Edenshaw. His many published and widely exhibited works include: limited edition prints, silver and gold jewellery, masks, helmets, large poles, rattles, argillite sculptures and drums. Reg is also an accomplished singer and dancer with the Rainbow Creek Dancers, a Haida Dance group formed in 1980 by Reg and Robert. Among his many interesting commissions was a major totem pole project that was ordered by the successful British artist, Damien Hirst, in 2006.

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