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Guardian of the Sea

Preston Singletary

Arts of the Americas

On View: Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
Corporations and even our current government are rolling back environmental regulations, defunding scientific research, building oil pipelines which endanger our clean water, and a whole host of other issues that endanger our health as a nation. In my opinion, this is due to the lack of a true spiritual connection in relation to nature. . . . It is driven by a blind and misguided capitalist perspective that is not balanced by a respect for our environment.
—Preston Singletary, 2019

This work embodies the connection between tradition and artistic innovation. The artist Preston Singletary employs the medium of glass both to counter the stereotype that Native artists must use traditional materials and to preserve cultural symbols of his tribe that are tied to the local environment. Here, Singletary depicts the southern resident killer whale (or orca), a hereditary crest figure of his clan. Habitat contamination and the rapid decline of the Chinook salmon, this whale’s main food source, have brought it to the brink of extinction.
MEDIUM Glass
DATES 2004
DIMENSIONS 18 x 6 x 18 in. (45.7 x 15.2 x 45.7 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
ACCESSION NUMBER 2004.2
CREDIT LINE Gift of Fairfield-Maxwell, Ltd., by exchange
RIGHTS STATEMENT © Preston Singletary
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CAPTION Preston Singletary (Tlingit, born 1963). Guardian of the Sea, 2004. Glass, 18 x 6 x 18 in. (45.7 x 15.2 x 45.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Fairfield-Maxwell, Ltd., by exchange , 2004.2. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2004.2_Russell_Johnson_photo_SL3.jpg)
IMAGE threequarter, 2004.2_Russell_Johnson_photo_SL3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Sculpture of blown and sand-carved glass is red and black, the two signature colors for Northwest Coast art. It represents a killer whale, one of the crest designs of Tlingit artist Preston Singletary. It is made using traditional form-line designs with black forming the positive, primary spaces and red forming the negative, secondary spaces. The whale is arched, with flippers and tail fins down and dorsal fin up. Condition: excellent.
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Preston Singletary (Tlingit, born 1963). <em>Guardian of the Sea</em>, 2004. Glass, 18 x 6 x 18 in. (45.7 x 15.2 x 45.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Fairfield-Maxwell, Ltd., by exchange

, 2004.2. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2004.2_Russell_Johnson_photo_SL3.jpg)