October 15, 2007
Celebrated Haida Artist, Jim Hart, Raises "Bear Mother" Pole at the Art Bank
The Art Bank was honoured to receive some special visitors in the month of September. James (Jim) Hart, well known carver from the Haida nation, brought along his carving tools and his paintbrushes to put the finishing touches on his 12 foot totem pole entitled "Sister" (Bear Mother & Twins Pole), 2007.
This pole tells the story of Bear Mother and her Twins (see abbreviated version of the story below as well as pictures of James Hart and his son Carl putting finishing touches on the totem). This totem pole is made from a red cedar trunk over 400 years old and depicts a mother bear with one twin in human form and the other as a bear cub. There is an opening in the Bear's belly symbolizing the womb. Traditionally, the opening in a totem would act as a doorway into a home.
Bear Mother & Twins:
"One day a woman was picking berries. By accident, she slipped on some bear droppings and spilled the berries. The woman became angry and blamed the bears for her bad luck. The bears heard the woman call them names and became very angry with her. They captured her and took her away to their village.
At first the woman felt very sad. She missed her family and her own village. But Bear Father was kind to her. She married Bear Father and they had twin bear cubs. Many years later the woman went back to her village. She taught the people to always respect the bears and all living creatures."