When You Know Better… You Do Better - Yellow Cedar Paddle

Steve Smith

When You Know Better… You Do Better - Yellow Cedar Paddle

Steve Smith
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62" x 5 3/4" x 1"

Artist Statement: This piece (and a few others in the show) was inspired from an experience that I had when I had a recent operation. It was inspired from the in between realms of coming off of the anesthetic. This was one of many visions revealed to me. What I saw has changed the way I see, the way I do art and the impact that I could have as an artist. I have never been one to create political artwork and in fact, I was taught to stay away from doing artwork depicting certain topics. From what I have seen I will no longer contain nor censor the content that wants or needs to come out of me. As human beings on this planet we all have or will make mistakes, and that is to be expected. When we keep making the same mistakes we tend to suffer or others suffer from our actions. When we are tired of the pain we are causing ourselves or others we start to look for ways to stop hurting ourselves. It is through this process that some of us have learned an old, but truthful saying 'when you know better, you do better'. The pipeline that is proposed to run underground from Alberta to the Pacific Coast is exactly what I'm talking about in the title of this piece. A carved groove representing the pipeline runs from the top of the paddle to the bottom of it. From the bottom up are sea creatures and then midway up the blade of the paddle land animals and insects appear. Elements of the sky make their way up towards the handle. I have intentionally used many colors, probably the most I have ever used. In contrast to the black that seems to permeate throughout the entire paddle, the vivid colors of all the various creatures pop out. The pipeline groove runs through all of these wonderful and special creatures representing just what a real pipeline would do. I have only depicted but a few of the animals, birds and insects that this would have a devastating effect on. The amount of wildlife, trees, flowers, lakes, streams, rivers, mountains, earth...that could be polluted is unfathomable. I truly believe that we know better, so let's do better.
- Steve Smith DLA'KWAGILA

Artist Biography and Additional Work