April White painting chosen for salmon stamp

  • Dec. 5, 2014 5:00 p.m.

Haida artist April White’s painting ‘Salmon Tale’ will be depicted on the 2015 Salmon Conservation Stamp, making her the first aboriginal artist to have her work chosen for the honour.”I am a food fisher and salmon are, from time immemorial to present, integral to the First Nations of the Pacific coast – spiritually, culturally, and for sustenance. We are salmon people,” said Ms. White.This was Ms. White’s fifth submission to the art contest, which is run by Vancouver-based Pacific Salmon Foundation and judged by nine artists and conservationists. After a busy season operating her bed and breakfast, studio and gallery in Masset, she said she briefly considered not entering again.”But, I found renewed energy with my resolve to continue entering until First Nations art was featured on the salmon stamp,” she said.Her red and black formline painting of a spawning Chinook is more than an image, it tells the tale of how Raven came to bring salmon to human beings and why they continue to spawn in coastal streams and rivers. The message in the story, said Ms. White, is for people to respect the rivers that flow from the land to the undersea world.This image, and hopefully its message, will reach more than 200,000 people next year, according to the Pacific Salmon Foundation. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans charges $6 for a stamp, which is affixed to saltwater fishing licenses and is required if anglers want to keep the Pacific salmon they catch.All of the money generated from “salmon stamp” sales goes toward wild Pacific salmon conservation projects. Since 1989, $7.75 million of stamp revenue has been directed toward more than 2,000 community conservation projects, said Pacific Salmon Foundation president and C.E.O. Dr. Brian Riddell.”The Pacific Salmon Foundation is thrilled that for the first time a First Nations representation of Pacific salmon will appear on the salmon stamp,” he said. “It’s particularly gratifying that April White, long-time friend of the Pacific Salmon Foundation and five-time entrant in the art contest, has won this historic honour.”

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