I’ve been working on the idea of creating a series of modern “totems”. This raises the question of cultural appropriation for me. While I won’t be using motifs from any culture apart from my own, even the term “totem” sits uncomfortably with me. The issue is that I can’t think of a better word to describe the concept and the form.

“Stack” isn’t right”. “Assemblage” isn’t either.

So I’ve had to accept that sometimes there is no better word to describe something than what it is- and that’s okay. No matter how awkward it may make you feel.

Above you can see the work of Tanya Ragir and her bronze sculpture entitled “TOTEM”. I feel that despite her use of the term totem there is no sense of culture approrpriation and it refers to the form the work takes- which is very much that of a totem in its broadest sense.

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