King Salmon: Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
The King, also known as The Chinook, and more popularly known as Silversides has always been an important food fish; the average weighing 126lbs. (57.2kg.) and measuring up to 4 feet 10 inches (1.6 m.) long. They are found near the surface and at mid depths in the Pacific Ocean from Bering Strait to Southern California, being most abundant in the Pacific Northwest. These salmon spawn in large rivers, digging holes and burying their bright red eggs in the gravel on the rivers bottom. The eggs were made into cakes and dried by the indigenous peoples, then eaten as a delicacy in the winter. The fish on the left is the normal silver coloring; the male on the right has taken on the rosy blush that comes during spawning. Popular angling fish, they have also been commercially trolled for in uncountable volumes until they became endangered. Now new controls and standards are slowly bringing populations back up.
These peoples lived in the Queen Charlottes, an archipelago off the Northwest Coast of British Columbia, Canada. In 1790-1792 a book was written entitled “A Voyage round the World” by Etienne Marchand. He was taken aback by the art of this supposedly primitive culture. This is part of a quote: “Paintings everywhere, everywhere sculpture, among a nation of hunters”. The pole depicted is representative of a “Bears and Killer-Whale Mortuary Pole” found in the village of Koona, better known as Skedans. These crests were owned by the Raven clan, represented by the ravens in the heads of the salmon. The raven is the black color that he is in life in the rosy male, observing the pole standing in its’ full glory. The white raven, (a rare genetic occurrence) is considered to be magical and a good omen so I have painted him observing the pole as it is reclaimed by nature from whence its’ creation and inspiration came about.