Susan Point

More than a catalyst for the revival of Coast Salish Native art, Susan Point’s work has become a contemporary art form in its own right.

Born in 1952, Point’s home is part of the Musqueam First Nation Reservation in Vancouver, Canada. The Reservation incorporates her Coast Salish ancestral lands at the mouth of the Frazer River—a source of great inspiration for her work.

Although Coast Salish art had almost disappeared by the time Point launched her career in the early 80s, she chose to focus on the designs of her people. Considered sacred and deeply private, Salish art was rarely seen by outsiders. Many of Point’s images originate in the designs found on everyday Salish tools, such as mat-creasers and spindle whorls.

Point is a master at melding the traditional and modern, building on the visual elements of her culture to create a rich language in a full spectrum of color and media. Through her work, she continues to tell stories of care for the natural world and the lessons to be learned from a culture whose survival depended on knowledge of and respect for nature.

“The task of my generation is to remember all that was taught, and pass that knowledge and wisdom on to our children,” said Point.