Susan Point Online

Susan Point Online

“Through my artwork I have used a visual language to help carry the torch, a torch that was lit by my ancestors.”

Hailing from the Musqueam Nation, Coast Salish artist Susan Point continues her culture and traditions taught to her by her mother Edna Grant, who in turn, learned from her mother, Mary Charlie-Grant. Now, her

Coast Salish territorial lands, and people can be found from the lower mainland of what is now Vancouver and southern tip of Vancouver Island, B.C. extending to the northern Washington State. Coast Salish artwork however was relatively unknown to western settlers. Historically, the Coast Salish were one of the most numerous indigenous groups and their art was unique and powerful in subject, form and function. Elegant and structurally essential houseposts that adorn longhouses, carved figures and delicate engravings embellish ritual implements, and personal ornaments including textiles and blankets were considered items of wealth and ceremonially important.

Susan’s distinct style has stimulated a movement in Coast Salish art. She draws inspiration from the stories of her ancestors and commences the use of non-traditional materials and techniques, therefore inspiring a whole new generation of artists such as lessLIE, Maynard Johnny Jr or Dylan Thomas. Thirty years ago I was re-introducing ancestral artefacts; I am now pushing my artistic boundaries in every contemporary sense. While, the most valued part of my artwork remains the same, my mark, and I leave this with every brushstroke, every- whittle of wood, every line that I leave, I insist is just the way I meant it. That is my signature.”

Although known predominately for her public art commissions such as the 2010 bronze sculpture A Timeless Circle dedicated to the Olympics in Whistler, or the 2009 sculpture Cedar Connection at the Vancouver International Airport, Susan often says she remains true to her works on paper. “All the work I have realized, in one form or another, is connected to a common foundation: making prints. From the time when I pulled silkscreens on my kitchen table, I have stayed the course because my family helps me. All of my children are artists, and my grandchildren are too."  Her son Thomas Cannell and daughter Kelly Cannell are both accomplished artists in their own right.

Susan is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and has been presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her contributions to Canada.She has been recognized with: an Indspire Achievement Award, a YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, a B.C. Creative Achievement Award, appointed lifetime member to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, was selected to the International Women’s Forum, was listed one of B.C’s 100 most influential women, and was one of Vancouver’s 2012 Remarkable Women. Susan has Honorary Doctorates from: the University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University, University of B.C. and Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

“I continue trying to push myself one step beyond my goals, or one step in a new direction so often. There is always another stride to make. My art is never really finished; there is just a point where I have to stop myself. This applies to my whole life; therefore my artwork is evolving all of the time. New situations, new experiences have always played fundamental roles in my art, an example is my sometimes-playful use of colour after a tropical retreat and my embraced understanding of my ancestral visual language."



Bibliography: Croes, Dale, Susan Point, Gay Wyatt. Susan Point: Works On Paper. Spirit Wrestler Gallery and Figure 1 Publishing, Vancouver, BC. 2014.

Please note: Works on paper are subject to availability

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