KUNAMOKST - West Coast Mural Mosaic

Gerald Marchand


The Overseer 2

Panel before

Artist Comments:
In March 1998, my wife and I visited Haida Gwai for the first time. We were driving our son Richard who was a tree planter to meet his planting crew. We decided to make a small vacation of it and explore the Island.
As we penetrated the interior we came upon huge clear cuts. It looked like ground zero after a nuclear blast. To see this kind of devastation on what was a pristine Island was a rude awakening for me. Everywhere we went we encountered these huge clear cuts or their aftermath where on pristine beaches you see enough wood to build many homes, just left there as decaying pieces of driftwood.
As I visited this particular beach I was reminded of the times prior to this industrial devastation. I could not help but wonder what the Haida elders must feel when witnessing the rape of their ancestral lands. It was during this reflection that the idea of placing the totem among the dead driftwood was born. It was like a headstone in a graveyard! How appropriate I thought. After spending some time on the beach we returned to our car in order to visit other sites. As I started the car a news bulletin came on the car radio announcing the death of Bill Reid. It was at that moment that the inspiration for "The Overseer" was born.