Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Homecoming Paddle (2000)


Paddles for canoes perform an obvious function: they are the means of propulsion as a person or group moves from one water-bound location to the next for hunting and travel. In this manner, they become the means for a journey through rivers and oceans.

Each of these paddles by Susan Point has its own journey theme. Homecoming depicts the triumphant return of the salmon as their journey ends at the same spawning grounds where it began four years earlier. The other side of the paddle, though, shows the salmon in a more abstract form, possibly indicating that the future of the salmon is not as clear as we would hope. This paddle, made of yellow cedar, is free-standing in a base made of mahogany. The tip, or blade, of the paddle points up. When a canoe arrives in a foreign village, the paddlers traditionally rest their paddles in this position. Each paddle is presented to those on shore as a gesture of peace and goodwill. Then, after asking permission, the paddlers manoeuvre the canoe onto the beach stern first, a further symbol of the peaceful intentions of those in the boat.

—Susan Point as told to Vesta Giles

Susan Point

Susan Point


Coast Salish (Musqueam)

(1952- )

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.