Raven and Killer Whale
Dion Daniels’ art a gift ‘for me to share’
“My grandma told me I was given a gift. She didn’t say I was gifted, she said I was given a gift. And this gift is not for me to keep; it’s for me to share.”
That’s the motivating spirit of Dion Daniels, a Coast Salish artist who has been perfecting his indigenous motifs as a ‘self taught’ artist for about 15 years. His work will be featured at the Rainforest Arts gallery in June and July, and he will hold a meet and greet June 21, on National Indigenous Peoples Day.
His art embodies a deep respect for ‘the animals and the land’ and ‘for the elders’, especially for his paternal grandparents, who raised him on Galiano Island until he was nine or ten years old. “I always wish I could go back,” he said of his childhood home. “That’s where my heart lies.”
Animal spirits are depicted in all of Daniels’ works, and he feels an affinity to the creatures he paints. But his favourite is the Orca. “My grandmother told me that we’re related to the killer whale, that we’re descendants of the killer whale,” he said.
For him, that relationship is deep and personal. “You never know,” his grandmother said. “If you ever see a killer whale out on the waters, that might be one of your own relatives.”
This latest show presents is a sharp break from Daniels’ previous works. The paintings are more stylized. They are a personalized interpretation of classical West Coast indigenous themes and designs. The images, bound in circular patterns, are crisp, clear and graphically depicted; gone are the graduated backgrounds and representational images of the animal subjects.
Each of Daniels’ works comes with a story, describing the significance of the animal spirits depicted in the works. The same description will be printed on the backs of a series of cards available at the gallery.
Rainforest arts is located at 9781 Willow Street, Chemainus. For hours and more information visit RainforestArts.ca, phone 250-246-4861 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Daniels’ June 21 meet and greet will be from 1 to 3 p.m.CraigSpenceWriter.ca