Untitled Totems

jungen totem polescanadian design

As he has already proven with his Nike masks, Jungen possesses an unmatched ability to transform unremarkable consumer goods into provocative work. Original commodity and final product may seem, at first glance, far removed from each other, yet they are integrally linked. No element of Jungen’s process is incidental to any other.

Here, the tubular forms and the pouches, pockets, zippers, accessories, and embellishments of the golf bags are converted into the bodies, faces, wings, and claws of creatures associated with Northwest Coast First Nations cultures. Wolf, Raven, Thunderbird, Frog, and Salmon emerge out of arrangements of circles, ovoids, and form lines, the basic components of traditional Northwest Coast design–­and of golf bags too, apparently.

The references to golf immediately call up Oka-style conflicts between the beliefs of aboriginal peoples and the interests of non-aboriginal developers and leisure seekers. Like Jungen’s Nike masks, his poles allude to globalization, prestige commodities, economic disparities, and the disappearance of local and indigenous cultures into the maw of multinational corporations.

Robin Laurence

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