Shoshannah Greene is a Haida artist from British Columbia. Shoshannah is a two-time Emerging Artist Scholarship recipient and has received a Bill McLennan Masterpiece Study Program Travel grant to attend the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois and a Microgrant to support research at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec.
For her 2020 Scholarship award, Shoshannah worked with mentor artist Cori Savard and created her Scholarship artwork A Quiet Moment, which was exhibited in the exhibition Indigeneity Rising: Celebrating Our People, Our Stories, and Our Traditions at the Museum of Vancouver in 2021.
A Quiet Moment (detail)
A Quiet Moment (detail)
“As we collectively adjusted and continued forward into the “new normal” of 2020, I found myself pulling back inwards, into self-reflection. At times, isolation and the late-night thinking could be overwhelming.
What came up were memories and reflections of my lived experience; wise and poor choices. Many feelings and emotions circled inside: happiness, laughter, shame, guilt, and ambivalence. Working through these big feelings helped me shed layers and come into acceptance. After all, to one day be a great Nanaay (grandmother), means that we accept and own our mistakes with compassion for ourselves, so that we can extend this kindness towards those around us.
I chose the design to depict Raven, as there are many facets to him that characterize who he is. In our oral histories, he isn’t a flawless protagonist. Apart from joy and curiosity, cheeky Raven also displayed behaviours fuelled by greed, hunger, impatience, and other desires.
Raven is propelling forward, his slender beak leading the way. The weight of flying upwards, pulls down a cavity holding a human figure looking forward; they are accepting what has been. On each side of the cavity, resting on the bird’s talons, are human faces: they represent past stages of development. The base of the design is the tail of Raven, also representing Kaagan Jaad (shrew woman).
My name is Shoshannah Greene, my Haida name is SGidGang Xaal. I’m from the St’aawas XaaydaGaay clan, and was born and raised in Haida Gwaii. Since I was young, I’ve always had a strong drive for artistic expression. My creative practice includes Haida design, both traditional and digital painting, illustration and hand-drawn animation. In the last few years, I have started to connect with classical Haida design at a deeper level. For me, understanding Haida formline is equivalent to learning a new language; albeit, a visual language. The knowledge our ancestors shared and the masterworks they’ve created are truly awe-inspiring. The journey thus far has been exciting and quite humbling. With each creation another root extends; a root weaving a stronger sense of identity and connectedness to my culture. Connecting with the masterworks and culture has increased my confidence in developing my practice as a young contemporary Haida artist.”
– Shoshannah Greene