Sunday, September 26, 2010

Shooting Star

As he prepared for the initial set of sketches, Luca intended to include a representation of Tecumseh, who, as a leader of a confederacy of First Nations tribes had become an ally of Sir Isaac Brock and had sided with Upper Canada's forces in the War of 1812. 

As the painting progressed however, Luca discovered that Tecumseh had never traveled to the region around Brock University and thus the final version of the painting Tecumseh – whose name signifies “Shooting Star” or “Panther Across The Sky”- does not include a rendition of Tecumseh per se
It does however include a symbolic allusion. In a detail, indicated in the left hand corner of the panel above, a First Nations warrior points to the sky where a shooting star floats, almost imperceptible, above the canvas. This First Nations warrior symbolizes Tecumseh’s brother Tenskwatawa, "the Shawnee prophet", a charismatic leader himself, who had helped Tecumseh in his efforts to create the coalition of First Nations tribes. 



  1. Irina,

    the figure of the First Nations warrior pointing to the "shooting star" (perhaps in conjunction with the Norton figure riding beside Brock)is an interesting tribute to a silent Other,the "subaltern" voice of the figure of the exploited warrior-native. I see here Luca's homage to an extinct communal economy & way of life and then fighting prowess that art can only sadly allude to.

    I see perhaps a post-colonialist impetus at work.

    Perhaps the painting is a "space of hybridity" (in terms of Homi K. Bhabha's analysis)where incessant ethnic battles can be stilled on the canvas.

  2. Hello Conrad:
    Your comment is an excellent ‘reading’ of the painting’s pulse.

    In our discussions,the painter had noted that it was important for him that all the First Nations figures included in the painting be highly differentiated and represented with as much accuracy as possible - each with its individuality.