Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)
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Thunderbird and Sisiutl (1977)


  • Medium: serigraph
  • Size: 22 × 30 inches
  • Edition: 75
  • Reference Code: SMITH1977-01


Thunderbird was one of the supernatural birds of the stories our people told. As Thunderbird rose from the ground flapping his wings, this caused the crashes of thunder; the blinking of his eyes caused lightning flashes.Thunderbird was so huge that his main food was killer whales. Diving from the sky he seized them in his talons as if they were small fish.Thunderbird was also used as family crests by some of the high-ranking chiefs.Sisiutl was a two headed serpent with a human face in the centre for its body. The Sisiutl was the assistant to Winalagilis, the war spirit. The mythological serpent had the power to turn into a canoe to assist the war spirit; no spear or knife could impale its body; any enemy which looked upon him would turn to stone.

Sisiutl headdresses were worn by warriors during potlatches and ceremonies, and were also claimed as family crests.

Russell Smith

Kwakwaka'wakw (Kwagiulth)


Russell Smith was born in 1950 in Alert Bay, an island community on the northern tip of Vancouver Island. He is one of five children born to Betty and Jacob Smith. His brother Jerry is also a prominent Northwest Coast artist.

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Spirit Wrestler Gallery

101-1669 West 3rd Ave.
Vancouver, BC
Canada V6J 1K1

Toll Free: 1-888-669-8813
Phone: 604-669-8813


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one block West of the Granville Island gates
Between Pine St. and Fir St.

Tuesday to Saturday, open 10-5
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