With Tree Frog, Maynard Johnny Jr. is illustrating one of the most important symbols on the Northwest coast.
Pacific Tree Frog’s are small with an adult reaching only up to 5cm in length. They vary in colour from bronze to lime green, and have long toes which are slightly webbed. Its habitat ranges from Northern California to Southern Alaska. They are the most common frog in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Tree Frogs are known for croaking loudly when spring begins. This is a sign to the Coast Salish of Vancouver Island that it’s time to end the winter ceremonies and prepare for the hunting and fishing season.
According to Northwest coast culture, Frog is a supernatural being which inhabits the human, as well as the spirit world. It is revered for its adaptability and its ability to communicate between the two realms.
Frog is recognised as a healer in many Native customs all over North and South America. Many old European traditions also recognize Frog’s ability to heal. Its songs are believed to be magical and contain divine power. Frogs are cleansers of bad spirits and as such are used by Shamans as Spirit Helpers.
Frog also represents wealth, abundance, ancient wisdom, rebirth, and good luck. In Northwest coast art, if Frog’s tongue touches another creature, this represents the sharing of knowledge and power. On its own, Frog is usually depicted with a wide mouth and protruding tongue (Wak’es). On totem poles, Frog occupies the bottom with its legs stretched out to symbolize stability.
Please also read the FAQ section on Frog – Native Art Symbols and Meanings.
This limited edition silkscreen print titled “Tree Frog” by Maynard Johnny Jr. was hand produced by the screen printing process. It is the only limited edition printing of this design. The artist has inspected and signed each copy in the edition. All trial copies of this edition have been destroyed and the printing stencils obliterated.
Published by Cedar Hill Long House Art Publishing.