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i u a pi pu pa ti tu ta ki ku ka gi gu ga mi mu ma ni nu na si su sa li lu la ji ju ja vi vu va ri ru ra qi qu qa ngi ngu nga lhi lhu lha

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Susan A. Point

Musqueam

(1952)

First Name: Susan

Last Name: Point

Full Name: Susan Agnes Point

Date of birth: April 5, 1952

Place of birth: Alert Bay, British Columbia, Canada

Community / Heritage: Musqueam Coast Salish

Sex: Female

Website: https://susanpoint.com

Art Media: Serigraph, precious metals, acrylic paintings, glass, wood, stainless steel, concrete

Bio:

Susan Agnes Point is a Musqueam Coast Salish artist. She was born in Alert Bay, British Columbia in 1952. From an early age, Point was educated about the culture and traditions of her people by her mother Edna Grant-Point, who had learned from her mother, Mary Charlie-Grant.

Point’s artistic career began in the 1980s. Trained as a legal secretary, she enrolled in a jewellery-making course at the Vancouver Community College in 1981 while on maternity leave. Her work soon shifted from jewellery making into printmaking and sculpture. She immersed herself in the traditional forms of Coast Salish art, devoting time to studying the collections at the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology and the Royal British Columbia Museum. Point joined a group of artists interested in reviving the traditions of Coast Salish Art and design, which included Stan Greene, Rod Modeste and Floyd Joseph.

In April 1981, Point produced her first serigraph titled “Salmon” that depicted four black-and-white salmon surrounding a small circle. The serigraph’s circular format was inspired by the Salish spindle whorls. Point’s artworks often incorporate motifs related to traditional Coast Salish arts associated with the work of women, who used the spindle whorls to spin wool into yarn for the weaving of textiles. Spindle whorls were often decorated on the convex side with engravings that represented animal, floral, geometric and human imagery, representation of guardian spirits. All of these motifs and the use of the whorl shape have appeared in many of Point’s artworks, from limited edition prints to her monumental mixed-media sculptures.

Point has produced countless works in a variety of media, such as wood, stone, glass, bronze, copper, bone, resin, concrete, steel, paper and silver. Her use of non-traditional materials and techniques inspired a new generation of artists and drew attention to the Coast Salish culture and forms. She has produced more prints than any other Indigenous artist on the West Coast, with over 360 prints by 2016. She has completed major commissions, including two house posts inspired by 19th-century prototypes that once stood on the Musqueam Reserve as well as “Flight”, a 4.8 meter engraved red cedar spindle whorl that serves as a centrepiece of Vancouver International Airport. Other notable works include a welcome figure for the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology, a sculpture for the Victoria Convention Centre, and a sculpture and a wall installation mural for Langara College in Vancouver.

Point continues to release several limited edition prints every year. She has received many honours and accolades, including four honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees. Her large carving “The Beaver and the Mink” (2004) was commissioned by the Canadian government as a gift to celebrate the new addition to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.

Point was appointed to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and the International Women’s Forum, and received the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award. In 2012, Point was presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her contributions to Canada. In 2016, she received a Civic Merit Award from the City of Vancouver, Lifetime Achievement Awards from Emily Carr University, and British Columbia Creative Achievement Awards.

Exhibitions

  • 1985: The Northwest Coast Native Print, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
  • 1986: New Visions - Serigraphs by Susan A. Point, UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, BC, Canada (Solo Travelling Exhibit)
  • 1986: Salish Images - Tribute to Salish Art, UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 1988: In the Shadow of the Sun, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Ottawa, Ontario (Travelling Exhibit), Canada
  • 1989: Susan A. Point, Joe David, Lawrence Paul, Indianische Kunstler der Westkuste Kanadas, Volkerkundemuseum der Universitat Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 1989: Beyond Revival, Emily Carr College of Art, Charles Scott Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 1990: From Periphery to Center, Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
  • 1990: Salish Point, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Ottawa, Ontario (Solo Exhibit), Canada
  • 1992: Here Today, Open Space Gallery, Victoria, BC, Canada
  • 1992: Museu Da Gravura Cidade De Curitiba, Curitiba, Parana, Brasil
  • 1993: Mythological Creatures of the Northwest, Stonington Gallery, Seattle, Washington, USA
  • 1994: Bit Im Presseclub, Zeitgenossische Kunst der Indianer der Nordwestkuste Kanada, Bonn, Germany
  • 1994: Exhibition of Northwest Coast Indian Art, Nordamerican Indian Museum, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 1995: The 6th Native American Fine Arts Invitational, The Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona, USA
  • 1995: Expressions of Spirit: Contemporary American Indian Art, Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
  • 1996: Topographies: Aspects of Recent B.C. Art, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 1996: Written in the Earth, UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 1997: River Deep - Mountain High, St. Fergus Gallery, Wick, Scotland (Travelling Exhibit)
  • 1999: Susan A. Point Exhibition, Arctic Raven Gallery, Friday Harbour, Washington, USA
  • 1999: Vision Keepers, Alcheringa Gallery, Victoria, BC, Canada
  • 1999: Susan Point, Motherland Gallery, Fukuoka, Japan (Solo Exhibit)
  • 2000: New Art of the West 7, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
  • 2000: Susan Point - Coast Salish Artist, Spirit Wrestler Gallery, 8 Water Street, Vancouver, BC (Solo Exhibit), Canada
  • 2001: Long Time, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 2002: Fusing Traditions, Museum of Craft and Folk Art, San Francisco, California (Travelling Exhibit), USA
  • 2003: Kiwa: Pacific Connections, Spirit Wrestler Gallery, Vancouver BC, Canada
  • 2004: Clearly Tradition: Glass in American Indian Art, The Glass Gallery, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
  • 2005: Awakenings; A Gathering of Contemporary Coast Salish Artists, The Stonington Gallery, Seattle, Washington, USA
  • 2006: Manawa - Pacific Heartbeat, Spirit Wrestler Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 2006: Past to Present, Equniox Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 2006: First Nations: Myths and Realities, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 2006: Peripheral Visions, Arctic Raven Gallery, Friday Harbour (Solo Exhibit), Friday Harbor, WA, USA
  • 2010: Giving Traditions, Alcheringa Gallery, Victoria, BC, Canada
  • 2010: Pacific Patterns and Dreamings, Group Exhibition, Alcheringa Gallery, Victoria, BC, Canada
  • 2011: Pacific Prints 2011, Alcheringa Gallery, Victoria, BC, Canada
  • 2011: Coast Salish Masterworks. Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 2011: Gallery Artists: Focus on Fibres, Alcheringa Gallery, Victoria, BC, Canada
  • 2017: Susan Point: Spindle Whorl. Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Collections

  • The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, BC, Canada
  • The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., USA
  • The Vancouver International Airport, BC, Canada

Articles

Awards

  • 1985 - 1994: Elected Council Member for the Musqueam First Nation, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 1992 - 1998: Appointed to the Board of Directors for the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 2000: Honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia, BC, Canada
  • 2001: Delegation member (visual artist) of State Visit of the Governor General of Canada to Argentina and Chile
  • 2000: Honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from the University of Victoria, BC, Canada
  • 2004: Appointed to The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts
  • 2004: National Aboriginal Achievement Award
  • 2006: Awarded the Order of Canada
  • 2007: British Columbia Creative Achievement Award for First Nation’s Art
  • 2008: Honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from Simon Fraser University
  • 2008: Honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design
  • 2010: Named one of B.C.’s 100 most influential women
  • 2012: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • 2016: British Columbia Lifetime Creative Achievement Award
  • 2018: Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts
  • YWCA Woman of Distinction Award

Artwork

Title Last Sold At Auction
MAN AND THUNDER LIZARDS; PACIFIC SPIRIT 2013-04 (April 2013)
CELESTIAL CIRCLES 2017-10 (October 2017)
COMMON THREAD 2018-12 (December 2018)
GLASS PLATE 2019-10 (October 2019)
GOOD LUCK 2018-12 (December 2018)
IN THE SHADOW OF AN EAGLE 2009-03 (March 2009)
THE MOON AND THE WOLF; FROG AND BUTTERFLY; CRY OF THE RAVEN 2016-04 (April 2016)
THUNDERBIRDS, MAN AND BEAVERS 2018-12 (December 2018)
TRIBAL COUNCIL 2013-04 (April 2013)

Recent Auction Results

GLASS PLATE
Estimate: 1,500 — 2,000
Sold: Oct 2019 — Sold For: $1,440
GLASS PLATE
Estimate: 1,500 — 2,000
Sold: Oct 2019 — Sold For: $1,440
GOOD LUCK
Estimate: 1,000 — 1,500
Sold: Dec 2018 — Sold For: $1,200
THUNDERBIRDS, MAN AND BEAVERS
Estimate: 400 — 600
Sold: Dec 2018 — Sold For: $570
COMMON THREAD
Estimate: 500 — 700
Sold: Dec 2018 — Sold For: $900
CELESTIAL CIRCLES
Estimate: 300 — 400
Sold: Oct 2017 — Sold For: $276

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