‘Blackfish’ by Roy Henry Vickers – First Nations Northwest Coast Tsimshian Art presented by DaVic Gallery of Native Canadian Arts.
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Condition: no condition noted.
Frame: Please note that for safety reasons, print can be shipped framed without glass within Canada only. Shipments outside Canada will include print and mat with both frame and glass removed. Alternatively, glass may be replaced with resistant acrylic transparent glass that is safe for shipping at additional cost. Please inquire.
Description by Artist: “The Blackfish is the most powerful of the sea creatures represented in Northwest Coast Indian Art. For this reason it is chosen by the Tsimsian as one of the four main clan crests. In my village of Kitkatla the Blackfish is the highest ranked crest today. My father is a member of the Gispudwuda (Blackfish clan). There is a story passed down through generations about the origin of the Blackfish crest.
There were three Tsimsian men who went out to hunt in their canoe. When they reached their destination they dropped their anchor stone for it was late and they wanted to sleep. In the depths below, the chief of the Blackfish was alarmed at the anchor landing on his roof so he sent one of his servants, a little ratfish up to see who was there. Ratfish, when he reached the surface began to swim around the canoe. As one of the men in the canoe was angry at the intrusion, he grabbed the fish and broke off its fins throwing it back into the ocean. When the little fish swam back to his chief then sent two Blackfish to bring both men and cone before him. The Blackfish went to the surface of the water and swam in circles around the canoe until a whirlpool sucked the canoe and occupants right down to the house of the Blackfish.
After awaiting a long time for the chief to make up his mind as to what to do, the Tsimsian were afraid. Finally a feast was prepared and all the Blackfish came. They fed the Tsimsian men and warned them never to harm little fish in anger. It was indecent to be so cruel to someone so harmless. The men were instructed in the proper ways to fish and the proper fish to catch. Finally the Blackfish chief ordered his men to escort the Tsimsian to their own world.
The Tsimsian returned home with their story and adopted the Blackfish as their crest. So the Gispudwuda are found among the Tsimsian today. They never kill the Blackfish or Killer Whales and they take only what is necessary to survive from the ocean.”
Notes from DaVic Gallery: This Limited Edition silkscreen prints titled “Blackfish” by Henry Roy Vickers was published in August, 1978. It was hand produced by the screen-printing process. It is the only limited edition printing of this design. The artist was involved in the printmaking, checking the stencils and signing each copy in the edition: 195 signed and numbered copies, 20 artist’s proofs, and 1 printer’s proof.