Northern Lights Suite

(Deluxe Double/Double #609)

Under the full moon, the black bear observes a procession of powwow dancers parading beneath the magical Northern Lights.

ARTISTS: Jerry Whitehead and Nancy A. Lewis           INTERIOR DESIGNER: Portico Design Group

THE NORTHERN LIGHTS SUITE STORY

Growing up in the prairies of Saskatchewan, the enchanting colours of the Northern Lights made a regular appearance in artist Jerry Whitehead’s childhood. These illuminations and the powwow dancers he used to watch perform beneath their celestial glow have been the subjects of Whitehead’s vibrant artistry throughout his career. Painted from the perspective of a seated child, his artwork impresses upon the beholder the same awe and appreciation the dancers inspired in him. The Northern Lights suite is a celebration of this beautiful natural occurrence and the Aboriginal culture that surrounds it. A striking mural was painted freehand by Whitehead in his unmistakable style, leading guests into the suite, where a procession of dancers, garbed in a myriad of colours, parade beneath a painted sky.

Two beaded sculptures by artist Nancy A. Luis hang above the headboard. The Spirit of Vancouver Black Bear sculpture is of Vancouver’s native black bear with each part of the bear representing a distinct landmark of the lower mainland. The bear illustrates how interwoven the Vancouver cityscape is with the wilderness that surrounds it and aims to inspire reverence and respect for our unique environment. The Spirit of the Moon circular sculpture depicts two wolves singing to the moon. The moon illuminates the darkness of night and is recognized in Aboriginal culture as the nighttime guardian who watches over the earth as it sleeps. So to will this dream catcher watch over guests. Together these artworks pay tribute to the beautiful Vancouver landscape and the creatures that call it home. The glass beads in the sculptures also complement the celestial theme of the suite, as the light they reflect is reminiscent of twinkling stars.

For the Portico Design team, this suite is a celebration of the Northern Lights, star-lit skies, as well as the rising and setting sun. Yellow, taupe and white color the room and these calming hues allow artist Jerry Whitehead’s bold wall mural to become the focus, which is complemented by Nancy Lewis’ striking beadwork. The punches of yellow in the beads and artwork are extended throughout the room in the chair, lighting and bedding. To emphasize the passage of time that comes with the cycle of the sun as it turns from day to night, a pawn stool end table has been used to represent an hourglass. In its entirety the suite is a tribute to the illuminated sky.