The thunderbird is the keeper of the sky. This thunderbird is Connie’s grandmother Louise Watts: Hetux which means daughter in Nuu-chah-nulth.  In Connie’s lifetime her grandmother was her mentor.  Her determination, creativity and generosity always set a precedent for Connie to follow.  For these reasons, the artist modelled this thunderbird from the personality of her grandmother and has respectfully named it after her: Hetux.

The conception of Hetux began from the traditional family crests, historic to First Nations as a means of identifying families and lineage.  Connie has taken this concept and applied it to the individual personality.  The thunderbird, together with all the other creatures, is her grandmother.  The thunderbird’s strength and boundless creative energy is dominant.  The wolves (intensity and determination) on either side of the body are her stature.  The male and female salmon on the belly reflect her generosity and prosperity.  The hummingbird (joy and energy) and moon (intuition and perceptiveness) on the wing are her actions and interpretations.  The sun (logic and power) on the tail is her guidance.  The small wren (magic and fortuity) on the neck is ever present. The materials are stained baltic birch and powder coated aluminium.  Other elements reflect characteristics of her grandmother: the wood and metal combine soft and hard, and the primary colours are dominant and strong.


Date: 2000

Client: Vancouver International Airport

Dimensions: 21’ x 17’ x 15’

Materials: Baltic birch, Blue power-coated aluminum