Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Spirit of Haida Gwaii - a reflection for this party? 

Reading about the hustings at Friends House reminded me of the ‘Spirit of Haida Gwaii’.

This is a famous statue by the Haida artist Bill Reid. It shows a canoe filled with the traditional characters of Haida mythology, crammed together uneasily in the same boat; cantankerous, argumentative, lively, sometimes uneasy at the company they keep, but in the same boat paddling more or less together. Is the canoe just marking time or is it going forwards into an adventurous future?

The words ‘Haida Gwaii’ mean ‘Islands of the People’ in the language of the Haida First Nation of what is 'now' Queen Charlotte's Island, BC, Canada.

Not a bad visualisation of a party such as ours perhaps? On the diversity, on the hard work, and on the need to move on…

The bronze statue is outside the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC and is featured on the Canadian $20 note.

A walkround of the version in the Ottawa Museum of Civilisation is here.

Won’t speculate on which characters map onto which prominent LibDems… (though there is one familair looking face) but we do need them all in all their richness.

The imagery came to mind as I first heard of the Haida stories at a Quaker Meeting in Friends House many years ago.

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