- Keeper of the Land
- (scroll down for description)
- lithograph, 27 1/2 x 37, 1990
What I notice most in nature is its variety - each square inch in a landscape has its own particular texture and sculptural quality. The grizzly is a landscape-like animal; each part of the animal has different qualities.
It is difficult to talk about this handpulled lithograph in a generic sense as it is so closely connected to what is going on in the Stein River Valley, one of the most beautiful and pristine valleys in British Columbia - probably in all the west coast of North America. The Stein River Valley runs in from the coast of southwest British Columbia to the intersection of the Fraser and Thompson Rivers; all three rivers are rich with salmon. Along the banks of the Stein River are as yet untouched, unspoiled old-growth forests. All kinds of wildlife, including mountain goats, grizzlies and mule deer, live an undisturbed existence there.
The Stein Valley has also been the ancestral headwaters of two Indian bands, the Lytton and the Mount Currie, for thousands of years. Burial caves with pictographs have recently been discovered in the area, so it is a land that is significant and sacred both to the native peoples of British Columbia and to natural history. This sacred place is now slated to be logged. Many people have become concerned about the logging of the Stein Valley. We feel, if it must be logged, that it must be logged carefully. I made this original lithograph to bring attention to the dangers threatening the Stein Valley and its inhabitants.
When I was first planning this original lithograph, I thought a mountain goat would be the most suitable choice of subjects as its white coat would contrast well with the darker background of the piece. I spoke with committee members of the Stein Valley Cultural Centre Project, and my idea was presented to the local native Indian chiefs. The chiefs said, "Oh no, don't let him do a mountain goat; a mountain goat is nothing. Have him do a grizzly because the grizzly bear is the keeper of the land." I said, "Wow, that's great. That's what we should all be - keepers of the land."
What I notice most in nature is its variety - each square inch in a landscape has its own particular texture and sculptural quality. The grizzly is a landscape-like animal; each part of the animal has different qualities. I enjoyed showing the play of light and shade in the textures on his face. I chose a close-up view of the head and shoulders of the grizzly to show the expression of the grizzly's face, he is dignified yet concerned. We all share the grizzly's responsibility of preserving our habitat. I felt that the piece at the bottom of this original print was essential as it places the grizzly - the keeper - in his landscape.