Shake! Rattles of the Northwest Coast
Rattles forms are mostly dictated by use, and it is only when used that their power is released. There are a multitude of origins and purposes for rattles. Joe David has created the Frog Medicine Rattle for this exhibition, which is similar to those used by shamans for communicating with the spirit world during healing ceremonies. Isabelle Rorick's Healing Rattle is filled with crystals and adorned with delicate feathers made for a woman to use. Weaver William White, who created the unique Chilkat Rattle Top Basket, relates how a Tlingit elder told him that women used to hide their valuables in small baskets and when curious children would lift the lid to take a peek, a rattle in the lid would sound, revealing their piqued interest.
Raven rattles, as another example, are used in ceremonies to accompany important songs that sanctify gatherings. Although there can be different beings depicted on raven rattles depending on the maker's origin on the coast, the form remains consistent and there is the common element of transformation and the acquisition of supernatural powers. When the rattle is shaken, all of the figures are in essence transforming into each other, occupying the same space and illustrating the transformative power it possesses.
The Inuit Gallery is excited to present this collection of rattles from the Northwest Coast's most innovative artists. Each one of these has the distinctive style of its creator, even in some new or unusual mediums such as glass and argillite. These talented individuals have worked with the traditions of their personal heritage as well as pushing boundaries into new territory.
These are all extraordinary works of art and we invite you to share in their magic.