Celestial Imagery in Native American Art, currently ongoing at Quintana Galleries, illustrates celestial imagery and objects often found in Native American artwork. Images such as the sun, moon, stars, and clouds act as sources of guidance, givers of life, sources of light, and bringers of the seasons. All of this gives significance to the important life cycles. We often see this reflected in the form of Moon Masks, Sun Masks, Kachinas, Cloud Deities, and other mythical creatures.
In the Northwest Coast cosmos, there are four realms: the Under Sea World, the Mortal World, the Spirit World, and the Sky World. All four domains are significant, but it is the Sky World that dominates legend and life. The Kwakwaka’wakw people see the Sun as an old man who walks in stately grace across the sky every day. The Moon is associated with transformation, and is widely regarded as an important protector and guardian spirit. Because of the powers of Moon, shamans sometimes call upon it as a spirit guide. In the outer extremes of the sky lives Thunderbird, who by ruffling his feathers create great thunder storms, and by blinking his eyes create bolts of lightning.