Art for Sea to Sky: Surface
Surface – 24”x24” – 2020 – acrylic on canvas
Culture. Friendships. Family. Orcinus orca, known commonly as the ‘Killer Whale’, or yéẃyews in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim, is a sea mammal and largest member of the oceanic dolphin family. They can grow up to 8 meters in length and weigh between 1,400 and 5,400 kg. Found in every ocean in the world they range mostly in temperate and cooler waters, notably Antarctica, Norway and Alaska.
Here in Atl’ka7tsem/Howe Sound we are fortunate to co-exist with three distinct Orca populations; the Southern Residents, the Northern Residents, and Biggs/Transients. These different groups may look very similar but are all distinctly different due to something humans don’t often attribute to animals: culture.
Family groups share not only siblings and offspring but language, habits, hunting grounds and feeding strategies than can only be described as cultural traditions. For example, the endangered Southern Residents feed primarily upon salmon, whereas the Biggs/Transients prefer larger creatures, such as Sea Lions and Seals.
Orca families, or pods, stay together for decades. A dedication to family and tradition is something to behold, to respect, and to cherish.
Featured in this painting are Transient Orcas T123A ‘Stanley’ and his younger sister T123C ‘Lucky’