Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Warrior — Tama Toa


This sculpture is a collaboration of visual forms rather than a specific merging of cultural motifs. Lewis had the idea of the warrior form and I had the freedom to interpret the body design with a diving killer whale that would offer a strong visual and spiritual reference to suit the jade head.

Preston Singletary

The sculpture links the warrior ancestry of both our cultures. The pounamu (jade) head is inspired by some of the Tlingit masks that I have seen with inlaid operculum shell teeth. I have added some Maori designs of koru (rolled fern fronds) and moko (facial tattoo). The smaller face between the ears refers to knowledge that is passed down through the generations. The warrior’s designs on the back are references to vessel forms that can store the spirit.

Lewis Gardiner

Preston Singletary / Lewis Gardiner

Preston Singletary / Lewis Gardiner

Collaboration for the Fire & Water: Pacific Visions in Glass and Jade exhibition, 2007.

Collaborations between great artists are historically rare, despite frequent attempts and enthusiastic interest to bring technical skills and artistic chemistry together. In the end, it often seems that personal careers, distance, and other issues make these projects too difficult to realize. What makes this particular collaboration even more remarkable is that the two artists are geographically in different hemispheres — almost at polar opposites of the world.