The form and function of this monumental object was the same in both cultures. The canoe was used for warfare, trade, attending ceremonies, food gathering and to discover and understand distant lands. Artists played an important role in the design of canoes by acknowledging the powerful ocean landscape and giving canoes a great presence when approaching a village for confrontation or ceremony. This sculpture reflects the merging of all of these ideas portraying both the cultural similarities and differences. This is a wall-mounted sculpture and the red glass was chosen to contrast the green jade. The Northwest Coast design forms are killer whales.
The canoe (waka) plays an important role in the history and lives of both Northwest Coast and Maori cultures. I see the canoe form as a spiritual vessel to connect friends and family, the past to the present and one culture to another. Even if the physical presence of the culture is not there, the waka form represents the culture spiritually. The tauihu (prow) of the waka has a surface design of tiki (first man) on the top to complement Preston’s designs on the sides.
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.
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