Susan A. Point

Tribe: Musqueam
Based In: Vancouver, WA

About the Art
Undoubtedly the richest place of the planet is the Sea. Life on the planets exists because everything in the ocean is magical—between the deepest trenches, and the white surface. We see her uncompromising, changing mood in the wind and surf. These are the moments I like to ponder: the eternal tides, smearing time. From the floating tendrils of seaweed at my ancestors’ feet, the expanse of water journeys to the farthest shore. You don’t know where it has been. You don’t know where it will end up. I never know what the new tide will bring. Perhaps we only leave, so we may once again arrive.

I’ve only viewed a glimpse of the story so far, but I have seen extraordinary changes. Our knowledge of the ocean has increased tremendously with the advent of new technologies. We’ve learned that ecological changes of the ocean’s abyss are linked to what is happening at the ocean’s surface, and in fact our whole global biosphere, which humans continue to alter. It’s not just seaweed anymore, but a motorcycle washed up on a Haida Gwaii beach from Japan. An invasive species of mussel has arrived in British Columbia, carried over by a boat pushed across the Pacific by the massive Japanese tsunami of 2011. So far, 165 exotic species linked to tsunami debris have arrived on the west coast of North America. We are the cause of major shifts in species around the planet. We will never fully understand the consequences. Atlantic salmon are in the Pacific, lionfish from the Indian Ocean are in Florida, and the list is growing. I’ve been thinking about this a lot.

Simultaneously, I enjoy watching my young grandchildren become artists in their own right. They have been teaching me how fun it is to use all the colors we can imagine. It is the cycle of our lives coming full circle. Salmon are a symbol of abundance, wealth, and prosperity because salmon are the primary food source for the Northwest Coast Native peoples. Salmon are a symbol of renewal, representing the providers of life. Salmon in pairs are good luck because they represent the continuation of life, full circle.