Sometimes we are fortunate to have visions. Whether you believe that these visions are sent by your ancestors, your Creator or your very active imagination, they are nonetheless special and deserve to be cherished. Personally, I’ve been known to envision my future and revisit my ancestral past. Sometimes my visions end up on the walls of a house or in the words of a book. When your visions are so profound that they force you to see your life in a wholesale new way, this is an epiphany.
Chief Robert Joseph had one such impactful epiphany. He recalls: “I saw the whole of creation unfolding. First I saw Johnstone Strait and it had colours that I've never seen before. Energy unlike anything I've ever seen. Then I saw on the other shoreline on the other side of the bay. We were anchored up the forests, and through the trees, there were lightning bolts going through it. Finally I was looking way up into the heavens. And I saw the whole universe. I couldn't even describe it. I had found myself in such a dark space. During my epiphany, I moved into a place of belonging. We all belong to this arc of the universe, the whole universe. My vision of the universe is almost like a rainbow collage, like with all of the brilliant and dark colours of life. The darkness is as important as the light.”
Late last year, he approached me to turn his vision—his epiphany—into a piece of art for his new book, Namwayut. Now, you have to understand that I have an immense admiration for this man that I literally could not say “no”, even if I had wanted to. He has always been there for my family—from my grandmother all the way down to our young ones—that this time I wanted to be there for him. This is my interpretation of my chief’s epiphany, using his crest and his chiefly thunderbird name Kwi̱nkwi̱nxwa̱ligedzi Wakas to be the cornerstone of this image. For all that he has done—from being the voice in our potlatch system to being the face of reconciliation and cross-cultural understanding—this one is for you, “Bobby Jo”!
"Epiphany” is a limited edition print using the giclée method of printmaking. This print was released in August of 2022 and printed by Andy Everson at Totem Design House in Comox B.C. A total of 251 prints bear the title “Epiphany" and are signed by Andy Everson: 199 in the primary edition bearing the numbers 1/199 through 199/199; 19 Artist’s Proofs; 19 Remarque, and 4 Printer’s Proof. The acid-free Moab Entrada 100% cotton rag paper measures 17x22 inches. Image size measures about 14.5x19 inches.
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