Sockeye Salmon: Oncorhynchus nerka
The word sockeye comes from the native word “sukkai”. In Alaska it is known as the Redfish.
This bouquet illustrates the spawning run of the Sockeye Salmon. The central fish shows an aerial view of their fight upstream expanding into side views in the next two fish. The subsequent two silver fish are the color of the Sockeye before spawning (or the color they stay if they don’t migrate to the ocean such as those in the Columbia River region where they are known as Bluefish). This resettlement to the ocean takes place ten or twelve months after fry have developed. Here they live for two or three years before returning to their birth streams, creeks and lakes to spawn. It is when they reenter the fresh water that the dramatic green head and bright red body transform both males and females. Sexes are still easily distinguished because of males’ larger sizes and their elongated and curling snouts, which begin to form when they reach the river estuaries on their way home. They will never eat again once they begin this pilgrimage and once the mating is over they will die.
The abstract designs or totems at the bottom of the bouquet are ones that formed as I painted these mighty fish. The little rock crab and the sea rose in the foreground I found on the beach amongst the kelp, the sea rose is the only one I have ever seen.