Tarlo & Graham - the Trickster

skyhorse

Melbourne, Australia

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Artist's Description

“Tarlo & Graham” sell antiques, art deco, taxidermied critters & various other oddities – their window displays are unbelievably different.

Well the current theme is totem animal mannequins – the others are skulls, but this fabulous specieman is a Canadian coyote.

In Native American legends, coyote often plays the role of trickster, god of tricks, although in some stories he is a buffoon and the butt of jokes and in a few is outright evil. His positive traits include humor and sometimes cleverness. His negative traits are usually greed or desire, recklessness, impulsiveness and jealousy. Coyote is often the antagonist of his brother Wolf, who is wise and good natured but prone to giving in to Coyote’s incessant demands. Coyote figures prominently in several creation myths. In one myth, Coyote creates the first people by kicking a ball of mud (sometimes a bit of feces) until it formed into the first man. In another myth Coyote is able to successfully impregnate an evil woman who has killed off all the other men in the world during the sexual act. Coyote is also commonly a character in “just-so stories”, in which he tries to hunt prey or compete with other predators. In the process phenomena such as why rabbits have long ears are explained.

Coyote is a figure in the following cultural areas of the Americas, as commonly defined by ethnographers:
California – Coyote is featured in the culture of the following groups who live in the area covered by the state of California: the Karuk, the Tongva of Southern California, the Ohlone mythology of Northern California, the Miwok mythology of Northern California, and the Pomo mythology of Northern California.
Great Plains – Coyote is seen in the cultural heritage of these people of the Great Plains area: the Crow mythology (Crow Nation), the Ho-Chunk mythology (Ho-Chunk, Winnebago), and the Menominee.
Plateau – Myths and stories of Coyote are also found in the cultures of the Plateau area: the Chinookan (including the Wishram people and the Multnomah), the Flathead, the Nez Perce, the Nlaka’pamux, the Secwepemc, the St’at’imc, the Tsilhqot’in, and the Yakama.

Coyote has been compared to both the Scandinavian Loki, and also Prometheus, who shared with Coyote the trick of having stolen fire from the gods as a gift for mankind, and Anansi, a mythological culture hero from Western African mythology. Similarities can also be drawn with another trickster, the Polynesian demigod Māui, who also stole fire for mankind and introduced death to the world. Claude Lévi-Strauss, French anthropologist proposed a structuralist theory that suggests that Coyote and Crow obtained mythic status because they are mediator animals between life and death.

Coyote in the modern world – Coyote figures prominently in current efforts to educate young people about Western Native American languages and cultures. For example, the Secwepemc people of the Kamloops Indian Band in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, have designated their recently opened native elementary school the Sk’elep (Coyote) School of Excellence, while educational websites such as one co-sponsored by the Neskonlith Indian Band of Chase, British Columbia prominently feature stories about Sk’elep.
Peter Blue Cloud (Aroniawenrate) is a member of the Turtle clan of the Mohawk Nation. His books include two collections of contemporary Coyote tales, Elderberry Flute Song and The Other Side of Nowhere, which place Coyote in a number of different guises — showing Coyote to be funny, wise, sad, and sexual. William Bright’s collection, A Coyote Reader, also shows the continuing importance of Coyote in today’s world.

Coyote in popular culture – The coyote is a popular figure in folklore and popular culture. Modern references may invoke either the animal or the mythological figure. Traits commonly described in pop culture appearances include inventiveness, mischievousness, and evasiveness. Wile E. Coyote could be considered an instance of the buffoon version of the Coyote myth.

Coyote’s mythological role as a trickster is the basis for American sex workers’ modern adoption of the coyote in service to advocacy in their industry – “COYOTE” (“Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics”) is the name of a group established in 1973 in San Francisco to advocate for sex workers in political issues and to help prostitutes who want to leave the business.

  • info supplied from Wikipedia

Tarlo & Graham, Chapel Street, Windsor
(Melbourne, Australia)

Artwork Comments

  • kalaryder
  • skyhorse
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