September 2020 Presentation Arts Council of Lake Oswego
My mother is Louise White.
She was born in Fairbanks Alaska.
My Grandmother was Clara Konig from McGrath Alaska.
Her mother, Helen Akpakoraq, was born near Bethel, Alaska.
I am mixed, Yup’ik Eskimo and French Canadian.
My bronze sculpture is titled Dependent Arising: Owl and Lemming. It celebrates the interdependence of all beings. It honors the ones upon whose backs we all ride to survive.
You may notice that I increased the size of the lemming in relation to the owl. The lemming is larger in scale to show its equal importance in their interrelationship.
I sculpted the outstretched foot (or tail) in a traditional Yup’ik hand motif with an eye of awareness at its center. The eye represents the cyclical emergence of beings to this realm and the interrelationships of beings in survival. The eye represents clarity of vision and understanding.
Dependent Arising tells about how we are all related and about how there is no such thing as independent existence or independent survival. It celebrates interrelationship.
My dad is Steve White. He is French Canadian. His family were the LeBlancs but to assimilate and thrive when they came to this country, they gave up their name and became the Whites. His family were migrant farm workers. Until he was ten years old, he was raised moving, working, farm to farm between California and Oregon.
Popsie Steve White
My bronze sculpture is a call to action-- to turn toward, to see, and contribute to those upon whose backs I ride to survive, upon whose backs you ride to survive, to respect and show gratitude in action for
the water that feeds the soil and plants,
the rocks that drain the soil,
the people who work the land,
the trees who shade the farmers and the people who work the land,
the worms who work the soil,
the truck drivers who carry the harvest to the market,
the people who work the market,
the people who prepare and serve me food,
the neighbors who share their tomatoes and zucchinis.
This sculpture is a call to action-- to see and turn toward and contribute to those upon whose backs I ride to survive, upon whose backs you ride to survive, to respect and show gratitude in action for
the salmon who return to their birth rivers,
the krill the salmon eat during their time in the oceans,
the people who harvest the salmon,
the salmon eggs I eat and share with my neighbors,
the people who take away and process my waste.
This sculpture asks that we turn toward and acknowledge those who carry the weight of caring for the health and well-being of
When the lemming prospers, the owl prospers. We rise together. We succeed together.
This sculpture is a visual call to ask ourselves who we are in relation to others and how do we acknowledge, show gratitude, and care for the people and the land and water surrounding and supporting us.
Dependent Arising: Owl and Lemming is a reminder that our survival is utterly conditional and depends on good interrelationships. We rise and prosper together.
Dependent Arising: Owl and Lemming calls for a perspective shift from the dominant culture illusion of the supremacy of the individual species, person, family unit, community, government. It calls for a cultural perspective shift toward understanding the interrelationship and the equal importance of all, together.
This is the drum beat I hope rings clearly in the metal of my sculpture, a drum beat I can take up, a drum beat we can take up, an ongoing cadence we join together, toward clarity of vision and caring action.
Quyana, Thank you for hearing about my understanding of this sculpture. Thank you to the Arts Council of Lake Oswego for this opportunity. Thank you to “The House of Welcome” Longhouse at The Evergreen State College for supporting the project. Thank you to the community of Lake Oswego for valuing art and investing in opportunities like this that make art accessible to all. Thank you art lovers and supporters who made time to join this celebration today.