Sisiutl (Sea Serpent) Bracelet by David Neel, Kwakwaka'wakw
Sisiutl (Sea Serpent) Bracelet by David Neel, Kwakwaka'wakw hand carved sterling silver, 14K gold overlays 6" around x 1" opening x 1" wide
Sisiutlis a mythical creature symbolizing protection, supernatural power and revival. It is one of the most powerful symbols in Kwakwaka’wakw culture. The Sisiutl is a supernatural three-headed serpent that possesses shapeshifting abilities and the ability to turn spectators into stone when gazed upon. Not only can the Sisiutl change shape into a human or animal, but it can also transform its body into a self-propelled canoe that the owner must feed with seals.
David Neel, born in 1960, is a professional artist, photographer, and writer. His creative media includes: wood sculpture, photography, and writing. He works within the "tradition" of Kwakwaka’wakw art, in addition to contemporary works, which deal with current history. Neel's photography appears in magazines and books, as well as in museums and galleries internationally.
He has trained as a photographer in the United States for several years, with some of the country’s top professionals. Along side assignment work he has always completed personal artistic endeavors. Today he photographs contemporary Native Indian culture for publication and exhibition.
As a traditional carver, he trained with Kwakwaka'wakw artists Wayne Alfred and Beau Dick, as well as extensive study of museum collections. Neel draws on his Kwagiutl heritage for his artistic direction. From his father, Dave Neel Sr., he inherited a rich artistic heritage. Dave Sr., a Fort Rupert (Tsaxis Kwagiutl, was taught to carve by his Mother, Ellen Neel and her uncle Mungo Martin. Both Mungo and Ellen received their instruction her grandfather, Charlie James. Neel uses the work of his ancestors as the starting point for his own artistic interpretation.