Clinton Work Kwakwaka'wakw Acrylic on birch panel painting

Killerwhale Feasts

Clinton Work

Acrylic on birch panel
20” x 16” x 1½”


Killer Whale Feasts is  a multi-layered and visually multi-dimensional neo-abstraction of the classic Orca image from the Kwakwaka’wakw cultural past. Historically shown in an abstracted manner that would allow viewers to recognize the crest figure, Clinton has taken this tradition a few steps further by showing multiple clues as to the character being portrayed. The Orca’s head is clearly shown facing the right, it’s mouth and tongue heavy in white. The dorsal fin stands tall on the upper left, pierced by a brilliant turquoise blowhole. The pectoral fin is below the head in a beautiful coral color and the deconstructed blue ovoid in the upper right suggests the whale’s body. Clinton intentionally created a smattering of black and white across the panel to both enhance the colors of the whale, but also to suggest a multitude of whales, or of many pods and many generations across the ages. The title word Feast is represented both by the many teeth shown in the painting and by the long, all-encompassing Salmon skeleton along the edges of the piece. This is a feast that all Orca rely on, and the empty fish is headed out to sea to refill it’s flesh once more.