Modern Day Totem Poles

8040175314_78a1a7f427_oa collection of artists painted these ‘totem poles’ in Wokingham. Little is said about the work online, but I recognise characters that are part of our mythology such as a vampire and other modern iconic characters such as Mike Wazowski from the film, Monsters Inc. I presume this could be an attempt to map our cultural history, using a modern twist on the ancient tradition of totem poles.

A group of MFA Art Students created a work for an exhibition they called, Tall  Tales, a modern day totem pole.


This one portrayed 60 years of donut flavour inventing, by New York’s most famous donut shop.


This totem pole is a tribute to writer Jack Kerouac, who used a typewriter and a long continuous piece of paper to write for three weeks. The artist chose some quotes from the book to display in this piece.


The exhibition appears to have displayed a huge variety of poles, each created by an artist.

These modern day poles are all very colourful and contemporary, and show that you can use the ideas the Native Americans incorporated into their own poles, to tell a story or to act as a memorial. These create art work which are relevant to our times. However, it could be argued that there is an issue of cultural appropriation, and a misuse of deeply significant artefacts. Are we through this art trivialising their heritage and demeaning the spirituality of their original totem poles? 



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