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Koskimo

Koskimo, 1930
charcoal on paper
78.5 cm x 57.3 cm
Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Emily Carr Trust
VAG 42.3.119
Photo: Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery
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EMILY CARR

Like the D’Sonoqua of the other villages she was carved into the bole of a red cedar tree. Sun and storm had bleached the wood, moss here and there softened the crudeness of the modelling; sincerity underlay every stroke.
She appeared to be neither wooden nor stationary, but singing spirit, young and fresh, passing through the jungle. No violence coarsened her; no power domineered to with her. She was graciously feminine. Across her forehead her creator had fashioned the Sistheutl, or mythical two-headed sea-serpent. One of its heads fell to either shoulder, hiding the stuck-out ears, and framing her face from a central parting on her forehead which seemed to increase its womanliness...
I sat down to sketch. What was the noise of purring and rubbing going on about my feet? Cats. I rubbed my eyes to make sure I was seeing right, and counted a dozen of them. They jumped into my lap and sprang to my shoulders. They were real — and very feminine.
There we were — D’Sonoqua, the cats and I — the woman who only a few moments ago had forced herself to come behind the houses in trembling fear of the “wild woman of the woods” — wild in sense that forest-creatures are wild — shy, untouchable.

Klee Wyck 1941



I worked all afternoon, first on “Koskemo Village, ”x.1., and then on x.2., “Strangled by Growth,” which is also Koskemo (the cat village). It is D’Sonoqua on the housepost up in the burnt part, strangled round by undergrowth. I want the pole vague and the tangle of growth strenuous. I want the ferocious, strangled lonesomeness of that place, creepy, nervy, forsaken, dank, dirty, dilapidated, the rank smell of nettles and rotting wood, the lush greens of the rank sea grass and the overgrown bushes, and the great dense forest behind full unseen things and great silence, and on the sea the sun beating down, and on the sand, everywhere, circling me, that army of cats, purring and rubbing, following my every footstep. That was some place! There was a power behind it all, and stark reality.

Hundreds and Thousands: The Journals of Emily Carr 1966



PERIOD / STYLE: Modernism and Late Totems (1927-1932)

INSCRIPTIONS RECTO (FRONT): Signature: M.E. CARR.

EXHIBITION HISTORY

1945 - 1946 Emily Carr: Her Paintings and Sketches collaboration between the Art Gallery of Toronto (Art Gallery of Ontario), and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ottawa travelling to the Art Association of Montreal (Montreal Museum of Fine Arts) and the Vancouver Art Gallery (cat. 42)

1949 Memorial Exhibition Henry Art Gallery, Seattle (cat. 17)

1971 Emily Carr: a centennial exhibition celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of her birth organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery travelling to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (cat. 73)

1979 Emily Carr: The Mature Years – Les Années de Maturité organized by Canada House, London, England travelling to Centre Culturel Canadien/Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris, France (cat. 10)

1998 - 1999 Emily Carr: Art & Process organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery travelling to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and the Kamloops Art Gallery

1999 - 2000 To The Totem Forests: Emily Carr and Contemporaries Interpret Coastal Villages organized by the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria travelling to the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Kamloops Art Gallery

2001 - 2002 Carr, O'Keeffe, Kahlo: Places of Their Own organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinberg travelling to the Santa Fe Museum of Fine Arts, the National Museum of Women in Art, Washington and the Vancouver Art Gallery

LOCATION: Vancouver Island / Gulf Islands map