Oystercatcher Print by Rob Mills
Robert Mills is a lifelong resident of Southeast, Alaska. Specifically, he calls the village of Kake his home. Robert is a Tlingit artist of the Tsaagweidi clan who works with metal, paint and wood. His art is deeply tied to Lingit aani and the Tlingit culture which grew out of thousands of years of interaction with this darkly-forested, fjord-riven land. Robert’s art both celebrates ancient Tlingit traditions and builds upon them.
The Oystercatcher was regarded as a powerful bird that existed in three realms or dimensions. It could fly, exist on land and operate under water. It was capable of reaching these supernatural spaces. In all my years commercial fishing I would spend time observing and watching the seemingly small bird, wondering what the ancestors saw that allowed it to have that power. It served as a reminder to me to really look at something, to not overlook or take anything for granted, but take the time to relearn some ancient lessons.
This design was originally painted on a drum years ago. One of the things that occurred to me is that everything about it flows. Oystercatchers flow with what is happening in nature. They are always following something greater than themselves.