Susan Point

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Susan Point
Born (1952-04-05) April 5, 1952 (age 66)
British Columbia
Known forSculpture
MovementCoast Salish
AwardsYWCA Woman of Distinction
ElectedRoyal Canadian Academy of Arts

Susan Point (born 1952[1]) is a Musqueam Coast Salish artist from Canada, who works in the Coast Salish tradition.[2] Her works include public pieces installed at the Vancouver International Airport, Stanley Park, the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C., the U.B.C. Museum of Anthropology, and the city of Seattle.[3][4][5]

Point was born in Alert Bay while her parents, Edna Grant and Anthony Point[6] were salmon fishing. She grew up with her family in their home on the Musqueam Indian Reserve.[4][7] In the early 1980s, she joined a group of artists interested in reviving the traditions of Coast Salish art and design, including artists such as Stan Greene, Rod Modeste, and Floyd Joseph. Little research had been done on Salish art, so Point taught herself the Salish traditions. She studied the collections of Coast Salish art at the University of British Columbia's Museum of Anthropology and the Royal British Columbia Museum.[4][8] There is broad agreement that Point's works were critical to the current efflorescence of contemporary Coast Salish art. She was a leader in expanding the audience for Salish art to a market that was heavily biased towards Northwest Coast artworks produced in northern Northwest Coast formline design principles. Her close study of the formal characteristics of historical works of Salish art laid the foundation for her contemporary productions - some based closely on new renderings in print form of historical spindle whorls in museum collections, and later expanding out into original forms in new media, such as glass, concrete, and bronze.[9]

Much of her art practice has involved the adaptation of traditional spindle whorl carvings into the medium of screen printing. Her work helped revive Coast Salish design and brought new scholarly attention to her culture.[4][8] She has produced more prints than any other artist on the Coast, with over 360 prints in her oeuvre by 2016. For several decades in the late 1990s and early 20th century, she completed a major public work in B.C. or Seattle, a series of prints and works in glass each year.[9]

Vancouver Airport Inside

A major retrospective of her work was shown by the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2017, Susan Point: Spindle Whorl.[10]


Musqueam House Post

Her works include Salish Footprint in the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia,[11] Musqueam house posts at the American Museum of Natural History,[12] and carvings installed at the Vancouver International Airport[13] and at Brockton Point in Stanley Park.[14]

In 1995, Susan Point's "Flight (Spindle Whorl)" was installed at the Vancouver International Airport. It is the largest spindle whorl in the world at 4.8 meters (16 feet) in diameter. The piece is set against a stone waterfall to symbolize the connection between land and sky.[15]

In 2008, Point created "Buttress Runnels" for the Olympic Oval in Richmond, B.C.. The runnels move water from the roof of the building away from the site. The runnels include cast images of the life of the Fraser River, including fish, sand, herons. Herons are the symbol of the City of Richmond and figure prominently in stories and histories of the Musqueam people.[16]

In 2009, Point’s “Tree of Life” stained glass window was installed in Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver. The design represents the Salish belief in the interconnectedness of all forms of life, uniting Christian theology with First Nations culture and merging the traditional with the modern. Point was commissioned by the church to design the windows after winning a competition.[17]

Manhole cover in Vancouver, BC, Canada

Awards and Honours[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lattimer Gallery - Artist Bio - Susan Point". Lattimer Gallery. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  2. ^ Magocsi, Paul Robert (1999). Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples. University of Toronto Press. p. 91. ISBN 9780802029386. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  3. ^ Thom, Ian MacEwan (2009). Challenging Traditions: Contemporary First Nations Art of the Northwest Coast. Douglas & McIntyre. pp. 117–120. ISBN 9781553654148. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d "Susan Point / Alcheringa Gallery - Contemporary Aboriginal Art". Alcheringa Gallery. Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  5. ^ "Washington State Public Stadium Authority :: Public Art". Washington State Public Stadium Authority. Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  6. ^ "susan point. about". Retrieved 2017-11-18.
  7. ^ Martin, Katherine (2010-10-06). Women of Spirit: Stories of Courage from the Women Who Lived Them. New World Library. pp. 213–219. ISBN 9781577318231. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  8. ^ a b Swan, Deborah. "The Graphic Works of Susan A. Point". History of Northwest Coast Graphic Art. Burke Museum.
  9. ^ a b Susan point : spindle whorl. Black Dog. 2017-01-01. ISBN 1911164260. OCLC 954670684.
  10. ^ "Vancouver Art Gallery". Vancouver Art Gallery. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  11. ^ Mayer, Carol Elizabeth; Shelton, Anthony (2009). The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Douglas & McIntyre. pp. 1–2. ISBN 9781553654155. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  12. ^ Mayer, Carol Elizabeth; Shelton, Anthony (2009). The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Douglas & McIntyre. p. 26. ISBN 9781553654155. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  13. ^ Jonaitis, Aldona (2006-01-01). Art of the Northwest Coast. University of Washington Press. p. 270. ISBN 9781553652106. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  14. ^ Laurence, Robin (18 June 2008). "Susan Point's huge Coast Salish portals pay rich tribute". The Georgia Straight. Archived from the original on 15 August 2013.
  15. ^ "Flight (Spindle Whorl)". Vancouver International Airport. Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  16. ^ "City of Richmond BC - Buttress Runnels (2008)". City of Richmond. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  17. ^ Canada, Diocese of New Westminster | Anglican Church of. "'Tree of Life' window dedicated at Cathedral". Diocese of New Westminster | Anglican Church of Canada. Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  18. ^ a b c Valaskakis, Gail Guthrie; Stout, Madeleine Dion; Guimond, Eric (2009-01-01). Restoring the Balance: First Nations Women, Community, and Culture. Univ. of Manitoba Press. p. 279. ISBN 9780887553615. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  19. ^ "University of Victoria -Honorary degree recipients - University of Victoria". University of Victoria. Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  20. ^ "Past Honorary Degree Recipients - Ceremonies and Events - Simon Fraser University". Simon Frasier University. Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  21. ^ "EMILY CARR UNIVERSITY OF ART + DESIGN ANNOUNCES 2014 HONORARY DOCTORATE AND EMILY AWARD RECIPIENTS" (Press release). 23 April 2014. Archived from the original on 15 February 2016.
  22. ^ "Order of Canada - Susan A. Point, O.C., D.Litt., D.F.A., R.C.A." Governor General of Canada. Archived from the original on 15 August 2013.
  23. ^ "B.C.'s 100 of Influence" (PDF). Vancouver Sun. 2010.
  24. ^ General, The Office of the Secretary to the Governor. "The Governor General of Canada". Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  25. ^ "Susan Point earns Audain Prize". 2018-04-14. Retrieved 2018-05-14.

Further reading[edit]

  • Croess, Dale; Point, Susan (2014). Susan Point : works on paper. ISBN 9780991858897.
  • Nagai, Kenji; Wyatt, Gary; Kew, Michael (2000). Susan Point : Coast Salish artist ; [Vancouver, BC, Spirit Wrestler Gallery, 17.11.2000]. Vancouver/Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre. ISBN 0295980184.

External links[edit]