Sea Otter

About this object

History of use

Northwest Coast serigraphs are a contemporary art form, deriving from early 20th century drawings of traditional crest and decorative designs, commissioned by anthropologists and undertaken by artists such as Charles Edenshaw. Residential schools reinforced the medium, while discouraging the use of traditional themes. An important series of traditional designs in coloured pencil and watercolour were done by Mungo Martin for UBC in 1949-50. The 1960's saw the rapid growth of prints, first in unlimited poster editions, and later with the establishment of the Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art at 'Ksan (1967), and of the Northwest Coast Indian Artists Guild (1977), limited edition art runs became the standard. Northwest Coast silkscreen prints are part of the mainstream art market, as well as, functioning within the native context as potlatch gifts, and commemorative prints. Although, there are distinctive regional styles, individual artists may work in several styles, or apply unique themes and variations to specific works.

Cultural context

contemporary art

Physical description

Silkscreen print with a stylized profile of an otter-like animal. Animal is lying on a flattened back with the head on the left side facing the right side. Forelimb depicted with a three digit paw curled up under the chin. Thick black form line along the back with a thinner one along the top surface. Ovoid in ovoid at the shoulder and the tail. Slightly open red mouth, black circle eye outlined by a tapering oval, red u forms at the nostrils and along the jaw. Red split u on opposite sides of the shoulder. Black circle in red circle in the body with variously configured red shapes on either side. Black u forms at the ear, tail, neck, etc. Pencil inscription across the bottom edge reads 'August 1978 "SEA OTTER" Clarence Wells 65/175'. The print is on a horizontally rectangular, light brown paper piece.