After four years of freedom and struggle in the open Pacific Ocean, salmon, in numbers too great to imagine, make the long journey inland to the rivers and rocky stream beds where their odyssey first began. As they reach their destination, they will spawn, beginning the cycle for a new generation, and then eventually die. Along the way, their bodies become more and more red in colour. When the large, dramatic salmon runs happen every fourth year, spawning grounds, like the Adams River in B.C.’s interior, become a carpet of deep, undulating red.
For Susan Point, this stylistic wall sculpture celebrates the salmon’s cycle of life. Carved from red cedar, this piece has been painted to highlight the increasingly red colour of the salmon as they prepare to spawn. It was inspired by a style found on a historic carved Salish panel Point has always admired at the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology.
“I guess the title of this piece speaks for itself,” Point explains, “because nowadays, with all the added obstacles fronting the salmon’s path (man-made or natural), it is indeed a triumph when they return.”
—Susan Point as told to Vesta Giles