Arlene Ness


Title: Matriarch
Materials: watercolour on paper
Dimensions: 9″ x 12″
Date: 2014

This painting depicts my mother wearing a button blanket that flows into a lush forest scene.

There are many happy memories with my mother and being out on the land learning and harvesting. One memory that stands out is going out as a family hunting for pine mushrooms; my mother was in her element. The excitement of finding that perfect “number one” was a highlight that we each celebrated. The days spent exploring the surrounding wilderness, and appreciating the land and family is what stands out in my youth. Now as an adult I instill the same sense of wonder and appreciation of our land and culture in the new generation.


Title: Defenders of the Land
Materials: watercolor on paper
Dimensions: 22″ x 30″
Date: 2014

This painting shows the morning mist rising off the forest in dawn colors and three women standing guard, emerging from the stand of trees.

The recent threats of resource development on fragile habitat and headwaters brought the matriarchs out from their home hearths to protect what is integral to our culture, the land. The idea I wanted to portray is the women in stages of emergence: One realizing that she has to involve herself in the fight to preserve her way of life; Another donning her blanket to show the weight of responsibility as she surveys the obstacles facing her people: and Last, standing resolute in her clarity, the matriarch with the knowledge of her ancestors firming her steps, the hope warring with sadness in her eyes.

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