Thielscher sculpture logo


bardiglio imperial marble, neon, steel
38"h x 9"dia, 2012
"The main purpose of the potlatch is..."

The indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest have a wonderfully progressive tradition of holding “potlatches,” or gift giving festivals. [Taken from Wikipedia.]: At these gatherings a family or hereditary leader holds a feast at their house and demonstrates their wealth by giving away to their guests various types of foods, other material things or even money. The main purpose of the potlatch is the re-distribution and reciprocity of wealth. The status of any given family is raised not by who has the most resources, but by who distributes the most resources. Totem poles were often carved in preparation for the potlatch to symbolize the social status and importance of the wealthy leader or family giving the potlatch.

The "99" in the name refers to the recent "Occupy Movement" and the 99%. Potlatch 99 is a subtle commentary on the inequity of our modern social and economic system and the redistribution of wealth being fought for by the 99%. The word "potlatch" can also function as a verb, so the name translates to “Give to the 99%.”