The Sculpture emerged from a vision about Thunderbird. The artist saw Thunderbird looking down from his home high in the mountains. Since he is an extremely powerful creature, he began to move the water so it shone like diamonds, luring the curious salmon up the river from their sea homes to provide an abundance of food for those living along the river. The Thunderbird shone and in a mischievous spirit, stirred up the waters, propelling the river currents to great speeds. This is the great force that is now harness it to create electricity, while the rivers continue to feed and sustaining the life below with the spawning salmon.  The imagery was the basis around the concept that became Thunderbird Sharing Energy.

The finite details of the design honours the Grandfathers and Great Grandfathers, who honoured potlatching as a way of life. They showed their strength and power by what they were able to give. They lead by living extraordinary lives with respect and graciousness. This sculpture pays homage to the artist’s grandfathers: Thomas Watts, Nuu-chah-nulth; Percy Sterritt, Gitxsan and; Harry Mountain. Kwakwaka'wakw.  Her grandfathers that had great work ethics, incredible knowledge and innately respectful spirits. The strength of these men’s personalities are the life of the work.

The artist pulls from the stories and teaching of her grandfathers. While growing up in Campbell River, she heard many amazing stories of her great grandfather, Harry Mountain. Her Kwakwaka'wakw family always used the Thunderbird when potlatching and was told that he wore a double hummingbird headdress. He was a great chief, who had a beautifully designed copper.  Her grandfather, Thomas Watts was a longshoreman and a great fisherman. She grew up with memories of him fishing late at night under the light of the moon. The Wolf crest is her grandfather, Percy Sterritt’s family crest. The Bear, cradled in the wing of the Thunderbird is the artist’s own personality that is surrounded by this great knowledge and strength.

The artist’s connection to the Tseshaht Nation and the sculpture being on the Nuuchahnulth traditional territory is honoured by the Thunderbird, who is the central figure in the Tseshaht logo.

Thunderbird Sharing Energy

Date: 2011

Client: BC Hydro

Dimensions: 35’ x 18’ x 16’

Materials: Power-coated aluminum and Concrete