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Ancestral Code


Giclee Edition 40   Released July 2003

Of all the topics of Northwest Coast design, the human face affects many of us at the most profound level. It represents the mirroring of humanity. It illustrates a connection to ourselves, our ancestors, and our descendants yet to come. “Ancestral Code” is the second of a series of prints focusing on the Chilkat face.

Scientists have determined that we are essentially made up of strands of DNA. At the same time, social scientists have claimed that culture is a purely learned behaviour and is essentially disconnected from our biology. In “Ancestral Code,” I aim to show that our culture goes much deeper than that. We believe that our culture is embedded in our deepest core. If that means it’s in our DNA, then so be it.

The faces are portrayed in the Chilkat style. One of the most fascinating and complex forms of art on the coast, Chilkat weavings have a special relationship with my family. The right to wear and weave these beautiful garments was passed down from my great-great-great grandmother, Mary Ebbets Hunt. Pride in these blankets was instilled in me from my grandmother, Audie Frank, who is represented by the bottom face in the “Ancestral Code.”