KANADA: The Villages

Black Cherry, Black Walnut, Curly Maple
Size: 80" X 100"

Under the Great Law of the Hodenosoneh (People of the Long House), the Iroquois lived in villages in the vast pine forests of the northeastern portion of North America. The villages were connected by clans and common regions into nations. These nations were joined together into a very powerful confederacy. Some time ago, in Quebec, Jean Cabot, the French explorer asked the Iroquois from where they came. They used the word 'Kanada' to describe themselves. Through usage and change the word became Canada.

Although presented first in the video, " Language in Wood", this screen was conceived and made as the third piece in the artist's phase of depicting the 'past'. Having grown up in Brantford in southwestern Ontario, the artist did not receive much history about his neighbours and fellow students, the people of Ohswegen on the Grand River. Upon returning to the area much later, the artist had an opportunity to study and associate with the people of the Six Nations.

Kanada is an overview of how the people lived by the only real sustainable form, the village. The black walnut represents the distant unknown, the ether, from which the spirit comes. The white maple represents the purity of life, Nature Herself. The red cherry in the form of the maple leaf represents the settlements, the villages. The two red bars depict the political governance through common relationships, which hold and protect the existence of a people. At the time of construction the artist was practicing, as stringently as possible, an holistic and minimal approach to his work, using a simple table saw and some hand tools. The work is made from three planks. The wood was cut into the smaller pieces, book matched and assembled by tongue and groove, mortise and tendon, and splining methods. It is finished with five coats of hand rubbed brushing lacquer. There are just under 600 individual pieces in the work.

Peter Cooke * 1233 Mount Maxwell Road * Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 2H7 * (250) 537-4617

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