Panel depicting Fog Woman by Odin Lonning, Tlingit
Panel depicting Fog Woman
by Odin Lonning, Tlingit
red cedar, pigment
24" tall by 24" wide by .75" deep
Legend of Fog Woman
Raven wanted to get married. He went to the chief called Fog-Over-The-Salmon, who had a young daughter of marriageable age. The chief was glad that Raven wanted to marry his daughter, but he said,
"You must promise to treat my daughter well. You must have respect for her, and look after her. If you behave badly, she will leave you and you won't get her back."
Raven agreed to what the chief demanded, and the couple were soon married. They lived contentedly in the village near the water all summer and fall. Then winter came, and they were without food.
One, bleak rainy day, after they had been hungry for some time, Raven's wife started making a basket.
"What are you making a basket for?" asked Raven testily. "We have nothing to put in it."
His wife did not answer him, but continued making the basket, until it was very big.
That night they went to sleep hungry again, and the next morning when Raven woke up, he saw his wife sitting on the floor washing her hands in the basket. He got up to look at what she was doing, and when she had finished, there were salmon in the basket! These were the first salmon ever created.
Raven and his wife were very glad, and they cooked and ate the salmon. Every day, she did the same thing: she washed her hands in the basket, and when she had finished, there were salmon in it. Soon, their house was full of drying salmon, and they had plenty to eat.
After a while, however, Raven forgot that he owed his good fortune to his wife. He quarreled with her. Every day they would exchange bad words with one another; and in the end Raven got so angry that he hit his wife on the shoulder with a piece of dried salmon! He had forgotten the words of his father-in-law, the chief.
Raven's wife ran away from him. He chased her, but when he tried to catch hold of her, his hands passed right through her body as if through mist. She ran on, and every time Raven clutched her body, there was nothing to hold on to. He closed his hands on emptiness.
Then she ran into the water, and all the salmon she had dried followed her. Her figure became dim and she slowly disappeared into the mist. Raven, could not catch her, because she was the fog.
Odin Lonning (Tlingit name SH NOW TAAN) was born in Juneau, Alaska in 1953. He is Woosh Ke Taan (Eagle and Shark) clan through his Tlingit mother. He is named after his Norwegian father.
At age ten, Odin saw his first traditional dance performance. This motivated him to explore Tlingit art. Local native artists such as Amos Wallace, Johnny Avatok and Nathan Jackson, and the culture centers and museums in Ketchikan, Haines and Sitka inspired him to create artwork. When he was twenty, the Juneau school district, Juneau Centennial Committee, Goldbelt Corporation, and Sealaska Corporation commissioned several of his pieces for permanent display.
In 1989 Odin attended the Institute of American Indian Art in Sante Fe, New Mexico. While in Santa Fe, he collaborated with another artist to form Wolfsong Arts. They exhibited in larger powwows, juried invitationals, and museum shows throughout the West and Midwest.
Seeking a deeper understanding of the culture essential to his artwork, Odin started dancing and learning traditional songs. He first danced with the Juneau Tlingit Dancers in 1992 and later with Seattle-based Ku-Tee-Ya Dancers. He currently dances with Xudzidaa Kwaan dance group of Angoon, Alaska.
Odin now lives on Vashon Island near Seattle, where he works on multiple projects and private commissions. He does cultural presentations with his fiancee for nonprofit groups, museums, schools, gallaries, and treatment centers. He also works with Northwest Native Designs, a custom leather furniture company employing the talents of many native artists. Native Peoples magazine featured Odin's furniture design.
Odin's current works in both traditional and contemporary media include carved wooden boxes, bowls, wall panels, masks, paddles and totems; painted originals, drums and ceramics; etched glass and copper; applique and leather dance regalia; and graphic design for jewelry, fabric and leather furniture. He creates custom painted or carved designs for boats, cars, kayaks, planes, and even garage doors.