Art for Sea to Sky: Spawn
Spawn – 30”x48” – 2021 – acrylic on canvas
Live. Dance. Repeat. It is within the calm tributaries of the Cheakamus/Ch’iyakmesh river that we witness another cycle as timeless as the mountains. This is the cycle of salmon, in this case the oft-overlooked Chum or Oncorhynchus keta. These fish are a foundational species to the web of life here in the Sound, significant at every stage in their remarkable cycle. It begins in shade-dappled freshwater creeks and streams, peach coloured eggs are released by a female and fertilized in vitro by a male. Over the course of several months the eggs hatch into alevins, and within the calm protected streams they grow into fry and parr.
After several months the parr are ready to smolt by developing a shine to their scales, internally adapt to a saline environment, and begin to swim with the current. They are now ready for life at sea. Chum will spend anywhere from 3-5 years in the ocean, travelling thousands of kilometers in search of food. When ready to reproduce they return to the very same stream where they were born. They spawn/Achcháwan, become Ma7at, and within two weeks they die. The cycle begins anew.