Dylan Thomas

Serpent Cycle, 2019

silkscreen on archival rag paper; 90/100

10.2 × 10.2 in

 10 x


 26 x


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About the work

In Serpent Cycle by Dylan Thomas, a white stylized two-headed serpent curves around the entire composition. In the centre, a graphic face whose details are delineated in pastel green and peach, looks out at the viewer with round black eyes. Its crisp lines and bold colours offer a contemporary take on Northwest Coast formline design with a distinct focus on the spiritual traditions of the Coast Salish.

Serpent Cycle engages with the myth of the Stutsun who is the second being on earth. As the story goes, while bathing in Lake Cowichan, Stutsun encounters a Siin’lqi ok – a two-headed serpent that possesses immense spiritual powers. While this would be a terrifying encounter for anyone, Stutsun faces the fearful creature with bravery and the serpent flies away. The message: the Siin’lqi is a sacred being that represents the paradox of life’s challenges – it can either significantly harm a person or, if faced in a noble fashion, it can become the catalyst for significant growth and allow one to become stronger and wiser. For this reason, the Siin’lqi is revered by Salish cultures and two-headed serpents are one of the most common images in traditional Salish art.

Medium Prints
Signature Signed
Frame Unframed
Condition excellent
Seller Gallery
Location Victoria, Canada
Provenance The Artist; Mark Loria Gallery, Victoria, Canada.

Dylan Thomas


Dylan Thomas (Qwul’thilum) is a contemporary Coast Salish artist. Taking the discrete design units of Northwest Coast formline style, Thomas belongs to a new generation of indigenous artists who utilize contemporary media to explore ancient cultural traditions and beliefs. He is known for creating spindle whorls that expand his traditional practice to incorporate elements from geometric art of other cultures, such as Vajrayana Buddhist mandalas, Celtic knots, and Islamic tessellations. Like many Indigenous artists, he works in a variety of mediums, including silk-screen printing, painting, jewelry, and carvings.

Born in Victoria, BC in 1986, he is a member of the Lyackson First Nation of Valdes Island through his grandfather, Clifford Thomas. He is also of Songhees heritage through his great-grandmother, Mary Moody (of the Albany family), and Squamish heritage through his great grandfather George Moody, and Snuneymuxw heritage through his grandmother Doris Josephson (of the Priest family). Thomas’s early experiences ignited a lifeline passion. As he says, “I grew up off-reserve, and it was through art that I first got interested in my own culture and history.” Now, through his art, he wishes to bring his history and culture to others in order to “strengthen the relations between the communities, and hopefully encourage them to advocate to help and preserve this culture.”

Thomas received training in jewelry techniques from the late Coast Salish artist Seletze (Delmar Johnnie) and studied under Kwakwaka’wakw artist Rande Cook in all mediums of Northwest Coast art. Along with Cook and Johnnie, Dylan’s art has been influenced by the late Nuu-chah-nulth artist Art Thompson, Coast Salish artist Susan Point and Haida artist Robert Davidson. These artists explored the potential of the formline design tradition as a visual language of abstraction in prints, paintings, and large-scale sculptures, and comprise the beginning of “contemporary-traditional” works from Indigenous artists.

In 2013, Dylan was featured – alongside Rande Cook, lessLIE, and Francis Dick – in the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s Urban Thunderbirds/Ravens in a Material World art show, and in 2016, Dylan held his first solo exhibit, titled Sacred Geometry, at Alcheringa Gallery in Victoria. Dylan’s artwork has been published in Contemporary Art on the Northwest Coast by Karen & Ralph Norris (2010) and The Journal of Mathematics and the Arts (Taylor and Francis). In 2021-2022, Thomas served as the Indigenous Scholar for St Michaels University School. He is the Indigenous Artist in Residence with the City of Victoria, BC.


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