Keet Shagoon, 2003 - Seattle Art Museum

Keet Shagoon (Killer Whale), 2003
Fused and sandcarved glass
Preston Singletary
Tlingit, born 1963
72 x 92 x 3/8 in.

Purchased in honor of John H. Hauberg with funds from the Mark Tobey Estate Fund, John and Joyce Price, the Native American Art Support Fund, Don W. Axworthy, Jeffrey and Susan Brotman, Marshall Hatch, C. Calvert Knudsen, Christine and Assen Nicolov, Charles and Gayle Pancerzewski, Sam and Gladys Rubinstein, SAM Docents, SAMS Supporters, Frederick and Susan Titcomb, and Bagley and Virginia Wright , 2003.12

"The Killer Whale image is my family crest symbol. This image is presented in the form of a screen that would be used to separate the chief's quarters from the rest of the clan house. It provides a portal for a chief to make a dramatic entrance when entertaining guests. I like to look at it as a metaphor for the term 'threshold.' The medium of glass can be a threshold to the future for the cultural growth of Native people."

—Preston Singletary, 2003

Keet Shagoon, or Killer Whale, takes the traditional form of an interior house screen and transforms it into glass. The bold design features a split killer whale, the blow hole represented by the circles on either side of the whale's head. Preston Singletary refers to this contemporary version of an older screen as "modern heritage art."

The Seattle Art Museum, through the generosity of many contributing supporters acquired this piece by Northwest glass artist Preston Singletary. Entitled Keet Shagoon (Killer Whale), the fused and sand-carved glass screen measuring 72 x 92 inches was fabricated using special techniques developed by Singletary to replicate the complex Native Northwest Coast form-line design onto the glass. Singletary, a remarkable artist of Tlingit heritage, has taken ancient designs and fused them with a contemporary presence and meaning. Keet Shagoon is emblazoned with Singletary’s killer whale clan crest and is reminiscent of the early 19th century carved and painted screen in Hauberg’s Native Northwest Coast collection at SAM and is on view in the Native Art of the Americas gallery on Floor 3 of the Seattle Art Museum.