The Totem Pole

Related to City Art
Installed 1964
The top half of a wooden totem pole, featuring a carved thunderbird figure atop a diving whale figure.
A tall wooden totem pole in a park.
The top of a wooden totem pole, featuring a carved thunderbird figure.

A carved wooden pole depicting various Canadian First Nations motifs, presented to Sydney on behalf of the people of Canada.

Artist: Simon Charlie

Artwork description

The Totem Pole is 6m tall and features motifs representing various totems of Canada's First Nations people. A thunderbird is at the top, sitting above a whale with a face for a spout and then a bear with a fish in its mouth. The bear is holding a shield and sits on a dancing mask.

Carved from one log and painted, the artwork features a pair of wings attached at the top. It's set on a sandstone block and supported from behind by a steel girder which is bolted on.

Simon Charlie, the Salish artist from Canada, uses the motifs to represent a traditional legend where the animals depicted rescue the local people. The work was presented to the people of Sydney by EWT Gill, the Canadian High Commissioner, on behalf of the government and people of Canada in 1964.

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