Indigenous artwork on the Pacific Northwest Coast often incorporates figures and animals that are related to crest symbols. Crests have been passed down through families and have varying meanings depending on the context and association with a nation, clan, or family. The figures depicted in contemporary Northwest Coast Indigenous artwork also have varying meanings but there are some common characteristics from a range of sources, including oral histories and artist descriptions.

There are two Otter species that inhabit the Northwest Coast. Sea Otters, whose desirable pelts drove the fur trade along the coast, are larger in stature and inhabit the oceans. River Otters are smaller, land and river-dwelling creatures that are more frequently depicted in Salish art. In Salish traditions, Qeyux is a supernatural being, often described as a mink or an otter or fisher. Qeyux is associated with the transformer Ka:als. Otter is often connected to themes of intelligence, resourcefulness, and playfulness and is identified by a long body, small ears, large tail, and a short, rounded snout. Otter is often depicted floating on its back, with a sea urchin at its belly or alongside Salmon to represent its skill in fishing.
2 items

Otter Ring
Victoria Harper (Kwakwaka'wakw)


Women, Whorls, Wisdom
Dylan Thomas (Salish)

Edition /150 Available framed for $700 CAD. Please contact the gallery directly. "In Women, Whorl...

Edition /150 Available framed for $700 CAD. Please contact the gallery directly. "In Women, Whorls, Wisdom, I am exploring the idea of the sacred mother – the feminine wisdom and leadership that helped create and maintain the cultural systems of my ancestors. In doing so, I am also honoring the many women in my life that have nurtured and guided me throughout my life. The noble women of Coast Salish culture traditionally played an important role in the logistic, diplomatic, and ritual operati...