“With a head a platypus would be more than proud of, the Surf Scoter is arguably the least appealing of the sea ducks. His aquatic prowess however more than makes up for any lack of beauty and I am sure he considers himself beautiful.”
There are over twenty species of duck on the coast yet the duck rarely appears in the art and mythology. The duck, like all the birds of the Northwest Coast, is revered for its knowledge of the environment and its ability to dive, fish and swim in the undersea world. The duck, sometimes referenced in masks, is linked to the Kwakwaka’wakw performance of Komokwa, Chief of the Undersea World.
To the Nuu-chah-nulth people, the Scoter Duck was part of the story about the great fire that burnt the land to a black crisp. All the creatures were trying to reach the bottom of the ocean to bring up a clump of earth to replenish the earth. All the animals tried and failed to reach the ocean bed. Raven saw the duck eating mussels and said “do you think that you will be the one to reach the bottom?” The duck said that he would try and he dove into the ocean. The duck was gone for so long that many of the animals assumed that he had drowned. He came to the surface belly up and he yells that “he had got it” — and the earth was replenished and the greens began to grow.
Te Rarawa, Ngāti Paoa, Te Ātiawa
Rex Homan was born 1940 in Thames, New Zealand of Māori, Irish and Scottish ancestry. He lived in Auckland in his early years before moving to the Bay of Plenty. Rex has earned international recognition as a wood sculptor in the 1960s and 1970s and began working in bronze in the 1980s. His current work is influenced by the culture of the Pacific and displays uniqueness in its diversity of form and dramatic flow of lines. Rex has exhibited in solo, group and jury shows. He has won several national awards for “National Wood Skills” and is represented in corporate and private collections worldwide.
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