Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Yelthadaas from the series Coppers from the Hood

Artist:
Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas (Canadian, born Masset, Haida Gwaii, 1954)
Date:
2010
Medium:
White gold leaf, oil paint and lacquer on steel
Dimensions:
48 7/16 × 63 3/4 in. (123 × 161.9 cm) Weight: 25 lb. (11.3 kg)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Gift of Stanley L. Rieb, 2015
Accession Number:
2015.556
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 399
Yahgulanaas named his ongoing series Coppers from the Hood for the shield-like totems, or coppers, that Haida chiefs traditionally exchanged during potlaches, communal feasts that formed the basis of the pre-colonial economy on the Northwest Pacific Coast and that are still held today. Many of the artist’s versions are painted on the hoods of Toyota Tercels, which he appreciates both for their aerodynamic shape and for their brand name: a tercel is a male hawk—a raptor related to the artist’s kinship group (the Raven moiety) and this work’s title (Yelthadaas means "white raven"). Just as traditional coppers conveyed the wealth and importance of their bearers, automobiles are often the markers of economic status in the contemporary world.
Inscription: Signed, dated, and inscribed (verso): 2010-10-27/ mny/ YELTHADAAS
the artist, Vancouver, British Columbia (from 2010; his gift to Rieb); his father-in-law, Stanley L. Rieb, Coupeville, Wash. (until 2015; his gift to MMA)

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