(Click Image to Enlarge)
Released September 2005
Sailing aboard the sloop HMS Discovery and accompanied
by the armed tender HMS Chatham, Captain George Vancouver was on
a mission to find the fabled Northwest Passage and to chart the
coastline of the “Northwest Coast of America.” On July
13, 1792, the two vessels caught sight of a bluff with a small village
at its top. The village, on what is now known as Cape Mudge, was
called Tsakwaluten and was one of the main villages of the Comox
First Nation. Vancouver went ashore with botanist Archibald Menzies
and was the first European to meet my Comox ancestors face-to-face.
Being that I am of mixed ancestry, this encounter has special significance
and resonance for my own life.
The point of this print is not necessarily to rejoice in the accomplishments
of European “discoverers” or the colonialist ambitions
that sent them to the far reaches of the earth—these, indeed,
are noteworthy in their own right. This print, instead, is meant
to reflect upon the discovery of a new set of relationships—a
new means of interaction and understanding that set into motion
a change of our Aboriginal culture forever. The new trade with Europeans
made the sailors in the tall ships rich beyond compare. It also
gave my Comox and Kwakwaka’wakw ancestors access to resources—iron,
wool, copper, firearms etc.—that helped to shape the way our
culture looks today.
In “Discovery,” a Kwakiutl moon awaits the sailors
as they approach the far reaches of our territory. The HMS Discovery
is on the right, while the smaller Chatham is in the foreground.
The composition of this piece is intended to provide the viewer
with the sense that Vancouver’s crew is on a turbulent and
desolate ocean, while over the horizon awaits the rainy west coast
of North America. The formlines of the moon indicate that they are
approaching, not an uninhabited wilderness, but an area that is
the occupied territory of great nations.
“Discovery” is a limited edition print using the giclée
method of printmaking. This print was released in September of 2005
and printed by Andy Everson at the artist’s own studio in
Comox B.C. A total of 109 prints bear the title “Discovery”
and are signed by Andy Everson: 99 in the primary edition bearing
the numbers 1/99 through 99/99; 9 Artist’s Proofs; and 1 Printer’s
Proof. The acid-free Moab Entrada 100% cotton rag paper measures
17x22 inches. Image size measures about 11.75x20 inches.