Celebrating multicultural diversity from the four corners of the earth, Susan Point’s Four Corners reflects how all races and cultures, though extremely diverse in politics, beliefs and customs, are derived from the same root or foundation. When all of these differences come together, the result is both challenging and exciting.
A larger, monumental version of this piece, located at North Seattle Community College, has already been described by Peter Macnair in his opening essay. When Point was invited to create this larger piece, she was impressed by the cultural diversity among the students on the campus. She discovered that the campus was built on a site with a great deal of significance for the Coast Salish people of that area. Licton Springs, on the border of the campus, is red in colour as a result of the spring water passing through dark red clay. The clay was revered as a pigment used in ceremony and decoration. Later, Europeans used the springs for therapeutic bathing. This smaller, four-panelled artist’s maquette, or model, from the original demonstrates the four basic elements of the larger piece. Four Corners, cast in a polymer resin, has been painted with rich oil colours to bring the faces to life. The facial designs are precisely aligned, allowing the tops and bottoms to be combined in any number of ways. Each piece highlights slightly different ethnic facial characteristics. The Terra-cotta coloured wave pattern in the background, referring to the springs, is also precisely aligned, yielding new patterns with every different arrangement of the pieces. In the larger piece in Seattle, all possible options for arranging the sections have been laid out for the viewer—a tribute to the great wealth of diversity the students are blessed with on a day-to-day basis. Looking at this smaller, highly focused piece, we can see how closely we are all linked, and how much potential there is when we come together as a community.
—Susan Point as told to Vesta Giles
Coast Salish (Musqueam)
Susan began making limited edition prints on her kitchen table in 1981 while working as a legal secretary. She received several early commissions, which established her reputation for innovative proposals and for completing projects on time, on budget and at the highest level. She took courses in silver, casting and carving, all of which led to monumental sculptures in mixed media, and she was the first Northwest Coast artist to work in glass. She continues to release a number of print editions each year, but her focus has been on commissioned sculpture.
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