Grizzly Bear, Gia-La

About this object

History of use

Northwest Coast print making is a relatively new art form, which began in the late 1940's, but did not develop until the late 1960's. The establishment of the Northwest Coast Indian Artists Guild, in 1977, aided the implementation of standards in limited addition runs and various aspects of quality control. Silk-screen prints have been used to portray traditional and contemporary themes, as well as, to make personal statements. Kwakwaka'wakw artists have, in general, preferred to work with traditional crest designs and mythical themes. More colours are used by Kwakwaka'wakw artists than are used by northern Northwest Coast artists, and the images are composed of many small elements combining into relatively realistic or configurative forms.


Nb3.1335 to Nb3.1343 were given to Audrey Hawthorn in 1973. This collection of Henry Speck prints is from an unnumbered collection printed in the 1960's.

Cultural context

contemporary art

Iconographic meaning

Bears arEe the subject of many legends and are portrayed with powerful, human-like qualities. They are also important family crest animals. The identifying features are the ears, large flaring nostrils, wide mouth with teeth, canines, and claw-like fore and hind limbs.

Physical description

Silkscreen print with a configurative design of brown bear in kwakiutl style. Bear is in profile and facing to the left side. Body is solid brown and neck has two negative curves. Face has large round nostrils, mouth, cheek, and inner ears that are red. Around the eyes, there is light green irregular ovoid. Dark green snout and inner tail. Inner ear has split u's, and there are two u forms in red and blue-green on the side of the head. Forelimbs are outstretched with clawed paws and an eye-shape on the shoulder. Hind limbs constructed of ovoids and appear to be taking a step. There are dash marks on fore and hind limbs. Black inscription below image. The print is on vertically rectangular, off-white paper.