West Coast Native Art
Assembled by Hendrick Horsthuis
Historical / Cultural Significance
Northwest Coast societies did not pass their culture through
written language as they did not have written words like most
cultures. Rather, their culture and heritage was shared with future
generations through the use of imagery and oral tradition. Deeply
embedded in native art is historical meaning and contect which tells
a story of a time and place in native history.
Principles and Elements of Design
The key elements of First Nations art are line, color, and form.
The lines used are bold and strong and not jagged. Through the use
of smooth and curving lines, clear boundaries and shapes are created.
In addition, form line changes constantly, in both thickness and direction.
Bold contrasting colors are used in Native art which allows the areas
of color to be obvious and clear. Traditionally, the colors used in
northwest coast art are black and red with black being the primary color
of the form line.
A distinct element in First Nations art is form. The basic components
in NWC art: ovoid, inner ovoid, U-form, split U-form, and the S-form.
The combination of these forms, combined with anatomical features, are used
to form various animals such as killer whales, sea lions, and eagles.
For more Northwest and West Coast Native art ideas you can
Komokwa, Masks, Killer Whales
NOW WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO?
return to subject index?