Saturday, 13 December 2014

Totem Pole

Back in 2009, the McMichael Art Gallery located in Kleinburg, Ontario, commissioned a Totem Pole from Haida carver Don Yeomans. It's on permanent display in the entrance of the gallery.

This magnificent red cedar Totem Pole incorporates images of the Raven, the Eagle and the Frog and represents totems of the Haida people of North West British Columbia. But even though these are ancient symbols of the First Nations people, modern technology is also a part of contemporary life.

The Eagle is using his cell phone.
Don't leave home without your iPod.
And closer to the floor, the Frog is emailing someone on his laptop.... but sadly I didn't take a picture of him. There's a photo and a description of the Totem Pole here.

If you have 22 minutes to spare, this video shows the creation of the Totem Pole from bare red cedar log to the finished item. Yes, it's a long video, but well worth watching. Make sure you watch around the 4 minute mark when the enormous log is split into two.

And here the carver Don Yeomans talks about the creative process and the installation.


  1. Pretty cool. I've always wanted a totem pole, but I don't think my neighbors would want one with all six (yes, six) Three Stooges.

  2. I love the combination of traditional art and modern whimsy.

  3. I don't know quite what to make of this. ­čśä

  4. The name for it is perfect. I intended on just watching the first few minutes of the long video, but ended up watching the whole thing. Fascinating. The clash of the old traditional culture vs. modern culture is striking, noteworthy and I'm sure a bit controversial. I absolutely love it. The amount of backbreaking work that goes into making totems, how much of an artist's soul, and in this case, his family's soul, was put into this piece is the most noteworthy part of the video. The son spoke with so much pride.


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