Where the Thunderbird lives
cultural resilience on the Northwest Coast of North America

23 February – 28 August 2017

Room 91

Supported by the High Commission of Canada in the UK.

the High Commission of Canada in the UK

the High Commission of Canada in the UK

Additional support by
Steven Larcombe and Sonya Leydecker
PF Charitable Trust


Recommend this exhibition

Club depicting a Thunderbird. Nuu-chah-nulth, Nootka Sound, North America, 1780s.

This exhibition showcases the rich cultural heritage of Northwest Coast Peoples through remarkable and powerful objects spanning thousands of years.

Northwest Coast Peoples inhabit the mountainous fjords, lush islands and temperate forests that stretch along the coastline from Alaska, British Columbia and Washington state. They have created some of the most extraordinary carving and weaving traditions in North America. In this exhibition, explore these rich traditions through objects including ceremonial masks and rattles, elegantly woven robes and baskets, and contemporary prints and jewellery.

The exhibition reveals the stories and histories behind the works of art that have united generations and provided stability in the face of change. The display features many images of the legendary Thunderbird, who uses his great strength and power to hunt whales – a skill he gave to some communities. Objects dating from 600 BC to the present day highlight the resilience of Northwest Coast Peoples, who maintain their identity and way of life in a rapidly changing world.