Apr 112017

James Hart, Reconciliation Pole, UBC
Photo: Ann Cameron

The Reconciliation Pole now stands in a prominent position at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

A detailed explanation of the symbolism of the figures on the pole is in an article by Amanda Siebert at


Apr 112017

Beau Dick 1955 -2017

Already in poor health, Kwakwaka’wakw artist Beau Dick died on March 27, 2017, in Vancouver, at the age of 61.

His work is admired internationally, and is included in Documenta 14 opening in April in Greece, then later in Kassel Germany.

His deep and wonderful character and culture, his generosity and imagination, are widely praised and remembered with sadness.

A collection of tributes is at

Documenta14 has been a renowned international exhibition project since 1955. The office creates a definitive listing of names of influential avant garde artists for exhibition, and has in the last few years included indigenous artists such as Canada’s Brian Jungen in 2012, and this year Rebecca Belmore and, for example, the Sami Artist Group of Northern European indigenous artists. Indigenous curator Candice Hopkins was appointed as a curatorial advisor in 2015.

It opened in Athens on April 8, 2017.


Apr 112017

Joe David, Drum
Photo: Kenji Nagai

The Bill Reid Gallery in Vancouver is exhibiting 11 of the artist recipients of the BC Lifetime Creative Achievement Awards for First Nations Art. The award program has, since 2007, honoured a range of outstanding First Nations artists from 11 different nations within the province.

The artists work in diverse media: traditional masks, carvings, baskets and moosehide, as well as prints, sculptures and jewelry.

Co-curators Lou-Ann Neel and Beth Carter offer a public tour of the show on Saturday, April 8 at 2 pm. An artist’s talk by Morgan Asoyuf is on Saturday, April 29, 2017, at 2pm.

The exhibition title, Xi Xanya Dzam (pronounced hee hun ya zam) is a Kwak’wala phrase describing exceptionally talented people. The BRG exhibition continues until September 4, 2017.

The 2016 Lifetime Award recipient was Susan Point, whose solo show continues at the Vancouver Art Gallery until May 28, 2017. DO NOT MISS!

Apr 112017

Marianne Nicolson,
La’am’lawisuxw yaxuxsans ‘nalax, – Then the deluge of our world came…”
Photo: Permission of the Artist

Artists Sonny Assu, LessLIE and Marianne Nicolson have new work in Awakening Memory, a show running until April 29, 2017 at Open Space Gallery. Open Space is an artist-run centre, founded in 1972, located on the second floor of 510 Fort Street in Victoria.

Awakening Memory focuses on both customary and contemporary stories to explore the history, agency and value of an art object from Indigenous perspectives.” Art critic Robert Amos comments: “Nicolson has prepared her panels with a sparkling slate colour to look something like rock. Then with red paint, she painted a rollicking scene of animals with a treasure box in a canoe.” The full article is at:

Apr 112017

Marianne Nicolson, There’s Blood in the Rocks video, 2016
Legacy Gallery, Victoria

As part of the Legacy Art Galleries Canada’s 150 Years anniversary, a series of Origin Stories respectfully acknowledges a much longer history by presenting First Nations narratives that move beyond limited settler versions of history. Kwakwaka’wakw artist Marianne Nicolson uses pictographic imagery and song in a powerful video installation that tells the history of the 1862 small pox epidemic in Victoria which utterly devastated thousands of West Coast First Nations people. At Legacy Downtown until September 16, 2017.

Apr 112017

More than a history of relations between the indigenous nations and the European settlers, and eventually rulers, of North America, Blood and Land examines the “the paradoxes, diversity and successes of Native North Americans. Their astonishing ingenuity and supple intelligence enabled, after centuries of suffering both violence and dispossession, a striking level of recovery, optimism and autonomy in the twenty-first century.”

It is one of the few books which clarifies the differences in the ways that Canadian First Nations were treated and reacted to oppression, as opposed to American strategies and laws.

Jonathan King, in his nearly forty years as curator at the British Museum and now as the Von Hugel Fellow at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge University, travelled and worked with many North American native peoples, and had a particular interest in the Haida nation. The book is available abroad in hard cover and paperback, and in Canada in ebook format through Amazon.

Apr 112017

Carving Shed in Haida Gwaii

In December 2016 Kilthguulans (Christian White) announced Totem in the Forest, a new project in the Haida Gwaii, the creation of a pole, based on a design by Sqiltcange, great-uncle to Charles Edenshaw. The pole includes a raven and eagle story and some watchmen. Featured subjects are a female grizzly bear and her two cubs, and beneath, a male grizzly who is, in fact, a doorway to enter House for a Large Crowd of People. The house and pole were still standing in Haida Gwaii when Emily Carr painted it many years later.

Seven young carvers enrolled at Northwest Community College have been working under the direction of Christian White and his son Vernon, preparing for the raising of the 52’ pole at Taaw (Tow) Hill on Haida Gwaii, on June 21, 2017.

Mar 132017

Susan Point at the Vancouver Art Gallery
Photo: Ann Cameron

The Vancouver Art Gallery has opened a large and exceptional exhibition of the work of Musqueam artist Susan Point. The show focuses on the theme of the drop spindle whorl, one of the traditional implements in preparing wool for Salish weaving, and offers the visitor a wide and deep look at the creativity of a prolific and brilliant artist. The range of media and brilliant creativity of her vision are extraordinary. The exhibition closes on May 28, 2017.

A fully illustrated 160-page catalogue, co-published by Black Dog Publishing and the Vancouver Art Gallery, accompanies the exhibition.

An interesting teachers’ guide is online at

Mar 132017

Marianne Nicolson, The Sun is Setting on the British Empire, 2016
at the Belkin Gallery, UBC, Vancouver
Photo: Ann Cameron

A powerful new work by Marianne Nicolson has appeared on the east-facing wall of UBC’s Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery in connection with the exhibition To refuse/To wait/To sleep. Nicolson states that the piece “reworks the elements of the British Columbia flag, restoring the original position of the sun above the Union Jack, thereby symbolically altering the economic and political relationships it signifies.”

On March 25 at 1 pm, Nicolson will be at the Belkin for an artist talk. She will discuss her art practice as it engages with Indigenous histories and politics, and relating oral traditions to methodologies of archival research.

Two Nicolson works, Tunics of the Changing Tide, 2007, are hanging in the Walter C. Koerner Library on the UBC Main Mall.

The exhibition is at UBC until April 9, 2017.

Mar 132017

James Hart, Reconciliation Pole

At 1 pm on April 1, 2017, also at the University of British Columbia, the raising of the magnificent Reconciliation Pole by Haida Master James Hart will take place in the Main Mall. (See The Beat October 2016.)

The public is invited to the raising (expected to take up to 1 ½ hours), the ceremony and the Salmon Barbeque afterwards.

Mar 132017

Brian Jungen, Shapeshifter, 2000
National Gallery of Canada

The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa is re-installing its galleries of the history of Canadian art to provide a better and more inclusive look at our nation’s culture. The new galleries will open on June 15th 2017, for the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

In the meantime there is a special display in the Upper Contemporary Gallery of the NGC where Brian Jungen’s Shapeshifter of 2000 and Vienna of 2003 are currently on view together. Although both works are part of the permanent national collection, their size, 6.6 metres and 8.5 metres respectively has meant that they are rarely displayed side by side.

For more, see

Mar 132017

Emily Carr University of Art + Design has an active Aboriginal Program. Its Annual Aboriginal Student Exhibition, Re-Forming will open on Friday March 24, 2017, with a reception from 4:30 to 6:30 pm in the Concourse Gallery. The curators state: “We want to highlight how Indigenous people are engaging with the reformation of culture, languages, politics and creative aesthetic.

For more see

A recent publication by Richard William Hill, Emily Carr’s Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Studies, in Canadian Art magazine has eight important texts that “put things in perspective” for contemporary First Nations art. You can find it at

Mar 132017

Robert Davidson, Xyaalang (Dancing), 2013

The Art Gallery of Hamilton has opened an exhibition circulated by the McCord Museum in Montreal, placing the contemporary work of the well-known Haida artist Robert Davidson in the context of the great Haida tradition. The McCord Museum worked with Davidson to guide the selection of historic artworks and discuss their significance. All the historical objects in this exhibition are from the collection of the McCord Museum, with Davidson’s insights woven into the exhibition commentary.

The show, Expanding the Circle: Robert Davidson and the Ancient Language of Haida Art, closes on May 28, 2017.


Mar 132017

Patrick Amos,
Bird Rattle, 1980’s
Trustees of the British Museum

A new exhibition will open in March at the British Museum in London, England. Where the Thunderbird Lives: Cultural Resistance on the Northwest Coast of North America. It is the British Museum’s first exhibition focusing on the Pacific Northwest Coast. The exhibition commemorates the tradition of the Thunderbird. One side of the exhibition will display themes of strength showcasing 2,500 year old stone tools and early historic weapons. The other side will feature contemporary art and regalia from the Northwest Coast collections as testament to the innovative practices and economic adaptation of these thriving communities following the arrival of Europeans in the 18th Century. The exhibition continues until August 27, 2017.

Mar 132017

Jody Broomfield, Welcome Pole, 2016
Photo: Simon Fraser University Student Central

Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, in Greater Vancouver, plans to continue its program of Reconciliation and installing First Nations cultural objects on its campus. Most recently, on the Burnaby campus, a 25-foot pole was raised of a Coast Salish welcoming figure in traditional regalia above an eagle. Squamish artist Jody Broomfield directed the carving team.

In September SFU plans to unveil a pole created by a Musqueam artist at its downtown campus. A project for the Surrey campus is underway.

Mar 132017

The Bill Reid Gallery, Raven’s Feast 2016
Photo: Ann Cameron

Vancouver’s Bill Reid Gallery’s annual fundraising event, Raven’s Feast, will be held on Tuesday, May 2, 2017, at the Gallery. The evening includes a fine dinner, and an auction of a select collection of contemporary indigenous art.

For tickets, see

Or telephone the Gallery at 604.682.3455.

Mar 132017

Ellen Neel in the 1950’s

Until April 1, 2017, an exhibition at the Legacy Gallery Downtown in Victoria honours a pioneer female First Nations artist with Ellen Neel: The First Woman Totem Pole Carver. Neel (1916-1966), learned to carve from her grandfather Charlie James, and both created poles for Stanley Park, a very early acknowledgement of First Nations culture by the City of Vancouver. The exhibition includes work by contemporary members of Ellen Neel’s family.

The exhibitions of Susan Point and Ellen Neel are reviewed at:

Feb 132017

Darlene Gait, BC Ferries’ The Salish Orca

Esquimalt artist Darlene Gait, commissioned by the BC Ferries to design the hull of a new ferry, has now had a chance to see the completed project. The three new natural gas and diesel-powered ferries were built in Poland.

The Salish Orca, Ms. Gait’s project, is in Tswassen for training sessions. The Salish Eagle designed by John Marston of the Stz’uminus First Nation is expected in BC in March, and Salish Raven, by Musqueam Thomas Cannell, will arrive in May 2017.

The figurative work was applied to the hull on a massive decal, and a time-lapse video of the process is on the BC Ferries website at

Feb 132017

The Vancouver Art Gallery has organized a major new exhibition, Susan Point: Spindle Whorl. On view from February 18 to May 28, 2017 at the Gallery, this exhibition covers the artist’s impressive career of three and a half decades, including over a hundred print and sculptural artworks that take the spindle whorl as their starting point. The Coast Salish spindle whorl has been a persistent motif in Point’s work since the beginning of her career. Traditionally, the whorl was used by Coast Salish women to ritually prepare wool that would be woven into robes. Point has often drawn upon the spindle whorl and the motifs carved into it to provide a formal structure for her art. She uses a uniquely Salish vocabulary of circles, crescents and curved triangles, elements that distinguish the art of her people from the formline-based art of northern First Nations peoples.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 160-page book of essays on Point’s work.

Feb 132017

Two major events in Indigenous performing arts on the BC coast are coming up. The Talking Stick Festival from February 16 to 26, 2017. It includes a wide range of cultural expression. This year a visual arts exhibition has been organized for the Roundhouse in Vancouver’s Yaletown. On event of special interest is an Arts Funding Information Session on February 16 at 1:30 pm. The Canada Council for the Arts, First Peoples’ Cultural Council and BC Arts Council will outline their programs. The Canada Council will offer valuable information about their new funding model, including details for Indigenous artists looking to register in the Council’s online portal.

Feb 132017

The Art Exhibition at an earlier Talking Stick Festival

Featuring a collection of artworks from 11 multidisciplinary artists of Indigenous ancestry, the exhibition Kwèykw`áystway: Speaking With One Another attempts to create generative spaces for contemplation and conversation using the variety of expression found in Indigenous art today.

The exhibition is at 181 Roundhouse Mews in Yaletown from its opening on Wednesday, February 15 at 7 pm to February 25, 2017.

For more see

Feb 132017

An intensive look at Kwantlen First Nation history and culture is showing now in Fort Langley at the Langley Centennial Museum, until March 26 2017.

“Important artifacts are not just made of stone and bone- they are also the living legacies of language and art, ceremony and personal ritual. The exhibit celebrates living connections with the past in large black-and-white portraits, in stunning photographic landscapes, and in new art”.

Langley is less than an hour from Vancouver by car.

There is a review of the We are Kwantlen show at

Feb 132017

Mark Preston, Untitled (Mask 4), yellow cedar
Fazakas Gallery, Vancouver

Vancouver’s Fazakas Gallery is presenting Great North, an exhibition of work by artists Mark Preston and Couzyn van Heuvelen. Preston and van Heuvelen are both from the North; Preston is of Tlingit ancestry and van Heuvelen is Inuk. Both artists are rooted in their respective histories and traditions, and have developed their own vision. This show aims to examine their voices as artists contributing to the Canadian cultural landscape.

The Gallery is at 688 East Hastings Street; the exhibition continues to February 25, 2017. The Fazakas Gallery has organized an interesting program of events for March on the theme of woman and art. There is breaking news about Beau Dick and his participation in Documents 14 this summer in Europe on

Dec 082016


Phil Gray, Odyssey III: With a Vengeance, 2016
Lattimer Gallery

For the past nine years Vancouver’s Lattimer Gallery has organized an event to help support the Urban Native Youth Association, a Vancouver organization which has been providing 21 prevention-focused programs and services to Native youth since 1988. UNYA’s work includes advocacy, community development, and providing youth with meaningful opportunities to provide input into their programs and services.

Metis/Cree artist James Michels made the small cedar boxes that invited artists used as the basis of a work donated to the event. The entire proceeds of the project went to the Urban Native Youth Association. This December a record $88,301.50 was raised. Congratulations!

The boxes are on the Gallery webpage

Dec 082016


A Rendering of the planned Masterworks Gallery at MOA
Museum of Anthropology, UBC, Vancouver

In November, the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver made a double announcement; an anonymous gift of more than 200 fine pieces of traditional Northwest Coast art. The donor, who lives in Montreal, was first impressed by Northwest First Nations art when she viewed the totem poles in Stanley Park in the 1970’s.

The new Masterworks gallery for the display of the donated works is funded by the Doggone Foundation, and a grant from the Federal Government. The new gallery will be installed where the MOA auditorium is now; a new auditorium will expand the building to the east of the main entrance. Expected completion date is National Aboriginal Day, June 21, 2017.

For more details, look for updates at

Dec 082016

Artist Sonny Assu at the Vancouver Art Gallery
Photo: Ann Cameron

On December 3 2016, the Vancouver Art Gallery opened a new exhibition, We Come to Witness: Sonny Assu in Dialogue with Emily Carr, until April 23, 2017.

”Challenging the colonial gaze, Assu merges Indigenous iconography with a pop art sensibility to intervene into the work of Modernist painter Emily Carr and her representations of the landscape and First Nations people.”

The actual works by Emily Carr from the VAG collection are displayed alongside, and commented upon with insight by Assu.

Many of the interventions come out of Assu’s strong interest in science fiction, especially the TV series Star Trek. He manages these pop images with a certain irony; serious Trekkies can fully appreciate the juxtaposition.


Dec 082016

Recipients of the British Columbia Creative Achievement Awards

In November, the 10th British Columbia Creative Achievement Awards for First Nations Art honoured artists (from left to right): Maxine Matilpi, Corrine Hunt, Luke Parnell , Xwalacktun, and Corey W. Moraes.

The Lifetime Creative Achievement Award was given to Susan A. Point, who has spent decades creating Coast Salish art that has deeply inspired artists in BC and the northwestern United States.

A solo show of Susan Point’s work was at the Art Gallery of Western Washington University until December 3, 2016.

See the excellent videos that the British Columbia Achievement Foundation created about the artists, and posts online, at:

Dec 082016

the-beat-novdec-2016_html_62083525Mayor Iverson with the Box of Reconciliation

Edmonton’s mayor, Don Iveson, has opened an Indigenous Art Park in that city, with installations and sculptures by First Nations artists.

The city has also begun to name parks and buildings after aboriginal leaders, as well as local roads and landmarks.

Recently he has been promoting the idea of a Canadian National Museum of Aboriginal Art in Edmonton, on the site of the old Royal Alberta Museum.

A proposal by the Bill Reid Foundation for a National Museum of Aboriginal Art in Vancouver was made in 2005, but it was eventually dropped when government support was not sufficient.

Dec 082016


Simeon Stilthda/Sdiihdaa, Bear Rattle, 19thc.
Newark Museum

The Newark Museum in New Jersey has re-thought and re-created its gallery of North American native art. The new gallery features more than 700 objects from the museum’s large permanent collection of 2,000 works.

The gallery’s new position at the entrance to the installation of American art underlines the primacy of indigenous peoples. One of several innovations: the curators have attempted artist attributions, where previously works were generally identified only by geographical and cultural origin.

Dec 082016

Laakkuluk Bathory
“Ancestral lines from oceans and rivers and lakes all across this big land”

Vancouver’s Grunt Gallery has presented a project #callresponse involving performance, exhibitions and a strong online presence. The call was to “support the work of Indigenous North American women and artists through local art commissions that incite dialogue and catalyze action between individuals, communities, territories and institutions.”

The response, from artists Christi Belcourt, Maria Hupfield, Ursula Johnson, Tania Willard, Tanya Tagaq and Laakkulak Williamson-Bathory, is “To ground art in responsible action, value lived experience, and demonstrate ongoing commitment to accountability and community building” as well as “re/conciliation as a present day negotiation and the reconstruction of communities.”

#callresponse ends at the Grunt, but will tour to Ottawa in 2017 for the CANADA SCENE festival in partnership with the National Arts Centre and SAW Gallery. An exhibition catalogue will be published in 2017.

Dec 082016


Shawn Hunt, Reclining Figure, 2016
Richmond Art Gallery

The Northwest/Cubist-inspired carvings in Shawn Hunt’s work, displayed at the Richmond Art Gallery until December 31, 2016 are part of a duo show entitled Cultural Conflation. The exhibition aims to “examine colonial histories and migration” in the artists’ respective cultures.

The artist video interviews available in the gallery in a separate media room give real insight into the artists’ intentions and experiences.


Dec 082016


2015 Scholarship Recipient Edwin Neel presents his work at YVR
Photo: Ann Cameron

Every year at this time, the Vancouver Airport Art Foundation calls for applications for its Youth Scholarships. Applicants must be of First Nations ancestry, be between the ages of 16 and 26, and creating art that reflects their BC or Yukon First Nations culture. The deadline is January 27, 2017. Additional requirements, and other YVRAF programs, are at the YVRAF website at

Dec 082016

Mia Hunt, Copper/Owl/Raven Wall Hanging, 2010
Collection of Simon Fraser University, Burnaby

If you have ever wondered about the First Nations presence in the campus art collection at Simon Fraser University, you will be pleased to hear that soon more information will be available.

A new Apple app called imesh: Indigenous Art Walk is a self-guided walking tour that describes the indigenous art pieces on the Burnaby campus and at adjacent Burnaby Mountain Park. The app will also connect Aboriginal students and visitors to the myriad services and initiatives on campus.

A Coast Salish Lands Tour is also in production. This tour gives place names in local Coast Salish languages and describes culturally significant landmarks seen from campus.

The app will be launched in the spring of 2017.

Nov 292016



Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established in 2008 with the mandate to travel across Canada to document the experiences of Aboriginal children who attended Indian Residential Schools. The commission, headed by Justice Murray Sinclair concluded in 2015. A report was released identifying 94 “Calls to Action” to “redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation”.

Haida artist Jim Hart was commissioned to carve a Reconcilation Pole. Partially completed in the Haida Gwaii, the pole is now in Vancouver. A temporary carving shed is being raised at the University of British Columbia. The public is welcome to visit the shed and watch the final stages of the project. Hart has invited a carver from other First Nations communities across Canada to each carve one of ten faces from his design of the pole.

The unveiling, originally set for October 2016, has been postponed to 2017.

See a web video with good images at:

Nov 292016


Lyle Wilson, Haislakala: Spoken from the Heart
Masterworks in Jewelry & Mixed Media
Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery, Vancouver

A particularly informative catalogue accompanies a large exhibition of work by Haisla artist Lyle Wilson which opens on November 5, 2016, at the Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery in downtown Vancouver. The 22-page illustrated catalogue includes stories, traditional history and cultural commentary.

The title and theme of the exhibition refer to the artist’s deep involvement with his Haisla culture and language. This passion is manifested in more than 100 remarkable works of carving in wood, bone, as well as exquisitely carved gold and silver jewellery in the gallery. The exhibition runs until November 16, 2016.

Nov 292016


Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, Ovoidism,
Photo: Ann Cameron

A new public art installation in Vancouver was launched in September 2016, at the proposed site of the new Vancouver Art Gallery. The Larwill Park Site, as the block is called, is currently a downtown parking lot. The installation is on view until September 2017.


For the pieces, Lawrence Paul Yuxwelupton uses the Northwest First Nations’ traditional ovoid form in sculptural groups in the lot, as a reminder that we live on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish people.

Nov 292016

Layers of Love Composite

Top: Sho Sho Esquiro, “Moma
yeh estsu yeh Glyets’ edih”
our mothers and grandmothers

Clarissa Rizal:

Photos Courtesy of the Artists

Two artists, Sho Sho Esquiro (Kaska Dene/Cree) and Clarissa Rizal (Tlingit) have joined together to present Layers of Love, a show of couture fashion, clothing and ceremonial/dance regalia at the Bill Reid Gallery in Vancouver, from October 19, 2016 to February 19, 2017.

On Wednesday, October 19 at 7 pm, Sho Sho Esquiro and Clarissa Rizal join guest curator Miranda Belarde-Lewis to discuss their creative process and inspirations with the public.

A weaving workshop is open to all ages on Saturday, October 29, 2016, from 1 to 4 pm. On Thursday, November 3, there will be a discussion of the themes in Indigenous women’s art.

Nov 292016


Artist Clarissa Rizal, Egyptian
Thunderbird Robe
, 2016
Photo: Tom Pich

In the BRG exhibition opening at the same time, What a Wonderful WorldJudy Chartrand shows works in ceramic. These reveal her personal history and provide insights into life in the Downtown East Side, and into relations between indigenous and non-indigenous cultures.


Nov 292016


Diyan Achadi & Shawn Hunt
Richmond Art Gallery
Photo: Ann Cameron

The Richmond Art Gallery opens a two-artist show on October 15, running until December 31, 2016. A common theme of art forms appropriated by other cultures runs through the works in diverse media, by Shawn Hunt and Diyan Achjadi.

Hunt’s sculptural works draw from Western art history and combine with traditional Northwest Coast carved forms. The forms, carved primarily by Hunt, also include ones procured from his father, J. Bradley Hunt, a Heiltsuk carver; they incorporate components such as model totem poles, canoes, masks, panels, feast dishes and tool handles. In these new constructions Hunt reimagines artworks from the canon of Western art, reclaiming a dissected First Nations history.

Nov 292016


Roy Henry Vickers, Tsimshian
Chest Front Design Blackfish (Nalth)
Maynards Fine Art & Antiques


Maynards Auctions in Vancouver is holding a sale on Wednesday, October 19, 2016, of Canadian & Contemporary/Northwest Coast & Inuit Art at 11 am.


Paintings by Yuxweluptun, prints by Tony Hunt, Salish woven baskets and one blanket, silver jewellery: many artists, many media are represented.


See the catalogue at

Nov 292016



A $600 million mega-mall has opened at Tswassen, south of Vancouver. While it was promoted as having traditional Coast Salish carving created by Tsawwassen First Nation artists, and had an impressive art budget of $15 million, you may not see any familiar names. A more accurate report from the CBC’s Rafferty Baker states: “Much of the artwork in the mall plays on Indigenous themes but was created by a non-Indigenous manufacturing process involving design firms, with First Nations consultation.”

You have been warned.

Nov 292016


Performance artist Peter Morin, honoured at ECUAD

Emily Carr University of Art & Design has announced that alumnus Peter Morin has received the 2016 Visual Arts Award for outstanding achievement by a Canadian mid-career artist from the Hnatyshyn Foundation.

Alumna Jeneen Frei Njootli has been awarded one of three William and Meredith Saunderson Prizes for Emerging Canadian Artists. Jeneen Frei Njootli is a Vuntut Gwitchin artist and a founding member of the ReMatriate collective. She will have a solo exhibition at Macaulay & Co Fine Arts in Vancouver, in January 2017.

Nov 292016


Isobel & Robin Rorick, Sea Bear Basket

Stonington Gallery, Seattle

Opening on November 3, 2016, at Seattle’s Stonington Gallery, is Roots That Connect Us All: A Mother & Son Collaboration. Noted Haida weaver Isabel Rorick is joined by her son Robin Rorick in presenting a collection of traditional woven hats and baskets, as well as a carved panel by Robin. The exhibition runs to November 26.


Nov 292016


Gigaemi Gigaemu Kukwits, Untitled, 2016

Macaulay & Co Fine Art

The first show of work by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Gigaemi Gigaemi Kukwits opens on October 15 and runs until November 12, 2016.

Aug 022016

Dr. Bunn-Marcuse with artist Bruce Alfred
Burke Museum

The Burke Museum in Seattle has named Dr. Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse as the new Curator of Northwest Coast Art. Currently the Associate Director of the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Native Art at the Burke Museum, Dr. Bunn-Marcuse manages the Center’s Native artist grant program and publication series with UW Press.  She curated the 2014 exhibit Here & Now: Native Artists Inspired.

Dr. Bunn-Marcuse’s research focuses on nineteenth-century Northwest Coast jewelry and other body adornment, the indigenization of Euro-American imagery, and the art, dance and song of the Kwakwaka’wakw people of British Columbia. One project currently underway is a new, digital publication of a set of films made in the village of Tsaxis (Fort Rupert) by Franz Boas. The publication will include Boas’ audio and film recordings of crafts, games and dancing made in Fort Rupert, British Columbia, in 1930.

For more about the Bill Holm Center at the Burke Museum, see

Aug 022016

Amanda Strong, set for Four Faces of the Moon
grunt gallery

The grunt gallery in Vancouver presents Four Faces of the Moon, a multi-media installation that provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the elaborate sets, puppets, and props created for a new stop motion animated film by the same name.

The story is told in four chapters, which explore the reclamation of language and Nationhood, and peel back the layers of Canada’s colonial history. This is a personal story told through the eyes of director and writer Amanda Strong, as she connects the oral and written history of her family as well as the history of the Metis, Cree and Anishnaabe People and their cultural link to the buffalo.

The exhibition runs at the grunt gallery until August 20, 2016.

For more, see

Aug 022016

Past and Presence, design for mural on the east wall of the Tsimilano Building, NEC

The grunt is also involved in a mural project for the nearby Native Education College. Lead artists Corey Bulpitt, Sharifah Marsden and Jerry Whitehead recently held a series of workshops with the Urban Native Youth Association’s Young Bears Lodge and other community members to collaborate on these designs.

On the west wall of the NEC Longhouse, the design of Where the People Are Welcome has been created by Marissa Nahanee and Jerry Whitehead. The murals celebrate the NEC’s 30th Anniversary at this location. Community painting dates will be posted on

Aug 022016

Curator Susan Marsden and artist Lyle Wilson at MNBC

The Museum of Northern British Columbia in Prince Rupert is presenting Haisla artist Lyle Wilson’s work in PAINT until late August.

On the opening night, Wilson donated the painted panel he had created during his research at the Museum of Anthropology on the old Tsimshian houseboards, created as facades of traditional buildings.

There will be a solo show of Wilson’s jewellery at the Coastal Peoples Gallery in Vancouver, opening on October 6, 2016.

Aug 022016

North Van District Foyer Art Gallery
Photo: Ann Cameron

North Vancouver Community Arts Council has a program to encourage new and emerging artists. Indian Art from the Edge is a small private company offering support for talented Indigenous artists who have lived on “the edge” of homelessness, social and health challenges. Together they have created a show. Artists exhibiting include Edwin Wadhams, George Matilpi, Stephanie Kewistep and Eric Parnell. The exhibition opens on August 6, with a reception from 2 to 5 pm. at the District Foyer Gallery at 355 West Queens Road, North Vancouver. An artist talk is on Saturday August 13 at 2 pm.

The permanent online gallery of Indian Art from the Edge is at

Aug 022016

Legacy Gallery in Downtown Victoria

The Legacy Gallery has decided to do some creative curating with its latest exhibition from its extensive collection of First Nations prints. The eight artists represented created banners, by printing their images on shimmering semi-transparent fabric. Further projects merging printmaking and installation art are to come. The show runs until October 1, 2016.

On September 24, from 1 to 4 pm, the Gallery is holding a celebration event/artist round table. Victoria’s Legacy Gallery downtown is at 630 Yates Street. See

Aug 022016

YVR Art Foundation Recipients speak about their work
Photo: Ann Cameron

The YVR Art Foundation has put out a call for grant applications for its Masterpiece Study Program, grants which enable First Nations artists living in BC and the Yukon to travel to museums to study works of art created by the masters of their culture. The deadline is September 30, 2016.


May 152016


Canada has finally adopted the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, without qualifications.

The document, adopted by the UN in 2007, recognizes Indigenous peoples’ basic human rights, as well as rights to self-determination, language, equality and land. It states:

Indigenous peoples have the right to practise and revitalize their

cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain,

protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of

their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artefacts,

designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts

and literature.

The full text is at:

A specially-formatted version for young people, prepared by Gitksan educator Dr. Cindy Blackstock is at:

May 152016

Nisga’a Museum in the Nass Valley B.C.

The Nisga’a Museum has won prizes for its remarkable displays, fine building and unique location. It is opening for the 2016 season on May 10.

The Nisga’a Museum and its collections are directly related to the historic Nisga’a Treaty. The museum is also known as Hli Goothl Wilp-Adokshl Nisga’a, meaning “The Heart of Nisga’a House Crests,” a name that acknowledges and celebrates the importance of the four tribes that make up the Nisga’a nation. The four tribes or Pdeek are: Ganada (raven), Gisk’aast (killer whale), Laxgiik (eagle), and Laxgibuu (wolf). Each Pdeek has a crest or Ayukws – an animal that symbolically represents each tribe. The museum displays and incorporates all the Nisga’a crests and the people they represent within its permanent exhibition, the Ancestors’ Collection.

This summer the museum if featuring exhibitions about the archaeology of the Nass Valley, and also fisheries and fish management in the Nass Valley.

For more information and how to get there, call 250.633.3050, or visit:

May 152016

hotos: L. Israel Shotridge R. Jennifer Younger

The Burke Museum in Seattle is hosting a high level Native Art Market on Saturday, May 14, 2016, from 10 am until 3 pm. The entire art sale proceeds go directly to the artists. The Off the Rez food truck will provide Indigenous-themed food.

The next day, Sunday May 15, the Tacoma Art Museum will hold its Native Art Market.

May 152016
Photo: Marianne Nicolson

Photo: Marianne Nicolson

An installation by artist Marianne Nicolson opens on May 14, 2016 for a year-long showing at the Simon Fraser University’s downtown Teck Gallery at 515 West Hastings Street.

The theme of Oh, I Long for Home is the city as a conflicted promise for Indigenous people. Based on photographs of her relations taken of the artist’s relatives in the 1940’s and ‘50’s, as well as some by Nicolson herself, the exhibition concludes that the city was a disappointment for them.

“For many, if not most, the shiny image of the city did not deliver and instead offered a trap disconnected from traditional values.”

In its translation to Kwak’wala, Oh, How I Long for Home–‘Wa’lasan xwalsa kan ne’nakwe’ refers to a “return,” as well as to the cycle of the sun rising. The double meaning of title not only points to an idea of home as Indigenous territory, but the longing for home that settlers also seek, complicated by unceded lands.

Closing date is April 29, 2017.

May 152016
Shawn Hunt, Ceremony, 2015 Photo: Paul Hodgson

Shawn Hunt, Ceremony, 2015
Photo: Paul Hodgson

On May 19, 2016, Heiltsuk artist Shawn Hunt opens Line as Language, an exhibition at the Burrard Arts Foundation at 108 East Broadway in Vancouver. Hunt will speak about his work at 6:15, followed by a reception at 7 pm. The exhibition continues until July 2.

Hunt’s work explores new ways of using this structure while still maintaining the fundamental characteristics of the traditional formline. He often refers to this style as “neoformline”. The meandering, unbroken line draws the eye across and around the surface of the work, becoming thicker and thinner, speeding up and slowing down rhythmically. Creatures hide in both the positive and negative spaces created.

The Burrard Arts Foundation site is at

Shawn Hunt is preparing an exhibition with Diyan Achjadi, Cultural Conflation for the Richmond Art Gallery, showing from October 15, 2016 to January 3, 2017.

See the artist’s site at

May 152016
Krista Belle Stewart, Indian Artists at Work, 2016 Photo: Kyle L. Poirier

Krista Belle Stewart, Indian Artists at Work, 2016
Photo: Kyle L. Poirier

The latest in the Kelowna Art Gallery’s series One on One is an exhibition of several works by Krista Belle Stewart, a member of the Upper Nicola Band of the Okanagan nation. The abstract wall installation contrasts but relates to Stewart’s woven version of an old photograph on the left, called Sim – real/very, 2015.

“Stewart’s refined questioning of authenticity and the constructed images of Indigenous peoples are layered, re-imaging the image and fragmenting the narrative implied or imagined within the documentary context.”

The exhibition runs until July 3, 2016.

A web-based catalogue is at

May 152016
Bill Reid Gallery, during a fundraising dinner and auction in May 2016 (top) Reid’s Mythic Messengers, 1984 (centre and bottom right) sculpture and graphic work by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas Photo: Ann Cameron

Bill Reid Gallery, during a fundraising dinner and auction in May 2016
(top) Reid’s Mythic Messengers, 1984
(centre and bottom right) sculpture and graphic work by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
Photo: Ann Cameron

Vancouver’s Bill Reid Gallery has had a busy April.

The Seriousness of Play: Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas works opened and continues until October 2, 2016. Works by Yahgulanaas include many from his project Red, in his Manga style of drawing, and new sculptures.

A book by Dr. Nicola Levell, with contributions by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas and Jonathon King, accompanies the exhibition. The book launch is June 4, 2016, at the BRG.

A Focus Exhibition, The Art of Small Things: Meghann O’Brien, runs at the BRG until October 2, 2016. Meghann O’Brien takes materials from the natural world and transforms them into remarkable pieces of high-level human expression. Working with traditional materials such as mountain goat wool and cedar bark has given her a deep connection to the supernatural world, a connection to her ancestors. She describes working with cedar bark as “travelling back in time” or “touching the cosmos”.

Raven’s Feast 2016, a gala auction and dinner, successfully raised funds for the Gallery.

May 152016
Dancers of Damelahamid perform Flicker Photo Lisa Wu

Dancers of Damelahamid perform Flicker
Photo Lisa Wu

Flicker is an innovative dance piece by the Dancers of Damelahamid that combines west coast graphic design with a unique sceno-graphic hybrid of projected environments and live-action shadow dance. It is being performed at Vancouver’s Cultch Theatre, on May 25 to 20, 2016.

Vividly rich imagery represents the ‘spirit world’, the mystical realm portrayed through coastal masked dance. Just as light shimmers, Flicker represents the moments through which one can cross space and time, as the masked dancers journey in and out of the ‘spirit world’ of their ancestors.

The Dancers, although based in Vancouver, share the traditions of the Gitksan people, who are renowned for their rich history of masked dance.

May 152016
Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun at Unceded Territories, MOA Photo: Ann Cameron

Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun at Unceded Territories, MOA
Photo: Ann Cameron

The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia has organized the first major solo show of Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun’s work. Unceded Territories will feature over 60 new and existing paintings, drawings, sculptures, and installation works that explore the colonialist suppression of First Nations peoples, and the ongoing struggle for Aboriginal rights to lands, resources, and sovereignty. The opening of the exhibition drew one of the largest crowds in MOA’s history.

The show runs until October 16, 2016, and a full-colour publication featuring essays by local and international writers and illustrated with selected works by Yuxweluptun accompanies the exhibition. Co-curators Karen Duffek and Tania Willard will speak about the show at 1 pm on Sunday, May 15, 2016.

For a video see

MOA’s website

May 152016
Marion Penner Bancroft, VISIT: Site of former Indian Residential School, Birtle, Man. Photo: Ann Cameron

Marion Penner Bancroft, VISIT: Site of former Indian Residential School, Birtle, Man.
Photo: Ann Cameron

Unsettled Sites is a group exhibition of photography and video at Simon Fraser University’s SFU Gallery in Burnaby. It “slips amongst the complex entanglements of belonging and refusal from both settler and Indigenous perspectives.” Works by Tania Willard, Wanda Nanibush and Marian Penner Bancoft speak of ownership and settlement of land, ghosts, Indian burial grounds, and dispossession.

It continues at the Burnaby campus art gallery until July 29, 2016.

Mar 132016
Nike sneakers in form of Crab

Brian Jungen, King Capra, 2016
Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver
Photo: Ann Cameron

2015 was the 30th anniversary of the Nike company’s Air Jordan shoe line. To celebrate there were extravagant shows in Paris, and a dazzling number of novel athletic shoe designs produced. Tahltan artist Brian Jungen has marked the event by working in a new way with Air Jordan shoes.

Since 1999 Brian Jungen drew international attention with his masks created from cut up Nike shoes. The sculptures eerily resembled ceremonial masks of the Pacific coast of North America.

Jungen’s work was created just after the American media exposed Nike’s use of sub-contractors who exploit the poor workers of Asia. Jungen’s use of the sport shoes was intended to challenge the glamourous star image in the advertising of the Nike products.

In Jungen’s latest show at the Catriona Jeffries Gallery in Vancouver, Jungen takes his Nike shoe sculptures further, with a series that was created not by hand, but using the same tools used in factory production. The creations are more abstract than the earlier sculptures, and still dramatic and ironic.

For more about the show, which closed at the end of February, see

Mar 132016
Bright image projected on wall

Sonny Assu, 1UP

In Surrey, a new work by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Sonny Assu is on display on the west wall of Chuck Bailey Rec Centre until May 8, 2016.

Referencing gaming culture where a ‘1UP’ grants an extra life to a player, Assu’s artwork is a metaphor for how the First People have risen up for their rights.”

Time your visit carefully: the work is projected from 30 minutes after sunset until midnight.


Mar 132016
Front of building with sharply sloped roof

Audain Museum of Art, Whistler, British Columbia
Photo: Ann Cameron

James Hart, The Dance Screen (The Scream Too), 2010-2015
Audain Museum of Art
Photo: Ann Cameron

March 12, 2016, is the opening day for the Audain Art Museum in Whistler BC.

Philanthropist Michael Audain and his wife Yoshiko Karasawa surprised the art world with an announcement in 2012 that they had accepted an offer of land from the Resort Municipality of Whistler, and that they were beginning a process of building a museum to house their extensive collection of the art of British Columbia, and of Mexican modernism. Architects John and Patricia Patkau were hired, and the museum has opened in unusually short order.

A pleasant path through the woods will be built across Fitzsimmons Creek to give easy access the Squamish Lillooet Cultural Centre.

The collection tells the story of visual art of British Columbians, from ancient times to the present. Twelve BC First Nations are represented in the collection. Renowned BC artists, including Emily Carr, B.C. Binning, James Hart, Rodney Graham, Jeff Wall and Dana Claxton are represented.

The donor’s interest in Mexican modernist painting is reflected in the first temporary exhibition

The outstanding masterpiece is the salmon-themed dance screen by James Hart. The Beat has followed the creation of this major work, created by Hart to warn us of the dangers threatening the salmon on the Pacific coast.

The museum will have free admission for young people under the age of 15, and educational programs for families are being organized.

A book about the collection, Masterworks from the Audain Art Museum by Ian Thom, is available in the gift shop and on the museum website.

Mar 132016

Robert Davidson, Raven Finned Killer Whale, 1978
Douglas Reynolds Gallery
Photo: David Koppe

The Douglas Reynolds Gallery in Vancouver is also offering an interesting display of First Nations’ prints, including a large collection of pristine condition serigraphs. Some are from the Northwest Coast Indian Artists Guild, a collective of eleven Aboriginal artists, including Robert Davidson and Roy Henry Vickers. The Guild worked in the late ‘70’s improve the standards and marketing of art prints of Northwest Coast First Nations artists.


Mar 132016

In Victoria, the Legacy Art Gallery Downtown at 630 Yates Street presents Emerging Through the Fog, an exhibition of work by two Nuu-chah-nulth men: “Fog-God” Art Thompson from Ditidaht (1948-2003) and Hjalmer Wenstob from Tla-o-qui-aht, near Tofino.

Tsa-qwa-supp (Thompson) was a teacher and friend to Tlehpik (Wenstob) whose art was deeply inspired by Tsa-qwa-supp.

Mar 132016

University of Victoria’s First Peoples House

At the University of Victoria’s First Peoples House, there is an exhibition of Nuu-chah-nulth serigraph prints from the university’s own collection, mostly from the 1980’s and ‘90’s. Artists include Patrick Amos, Joe David and Tim Paul.

Mar 132016

Janice Toulouse, Chief Shingwauk and Ogema Kwe, 2015
Winsor Gallery
Photo: Ann Cameron

The Winsor Gallery in Vancouver is holding a group exhibition of new work by Wendy Red Star, Tsema Tamara Skubovius, Janice Toulouse, Maria Hupfield, Jeneen Frei Njootli and Olivia Whetung. The show is called Ogema: I am Woman, with a theme of presenting “matriarchal ways of seeing”. The painting by Janice Toulouse above depicts her ancestors, both leaders of the Anishnaabe nation, Ogeme as a full partner in decision-making with her husband Shingwauk.

A wide range of media, wit and insight distinguishes the artists’ views. The show continues to March 29, 2016.

Mar 132016

Maria Hupfield and Charlene Vickers perform at Cutting Copper: Indigenous Resurgent Practice, March 2016
Photo: Ann Cameron

The Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery at the University of British Columbia’s current exhibition is Lalakenis/All Directions: A Journey of Truth and Unity (see The Beat February 2016).

At a related colloquium at the University of British Columbia in early March, the grunt gallery and the Belkin Art Gallery partnered to present a stimulating program on the theme of First Nations contemporary art as an embodiment of the theory of indigenous resurgence and cultural representation.

Performance pieces were followed by discussions, with artists, activists and curators commenting on the themes. Artists who performed on the theme were Dana Claxton, Charlene Vickers, Maria Hupfield, Tanya Lukin Linklater , and dancers Mique’l Dangeli, Ziyian Kwan who were accompanied by cellist Peggy Lee.


Mar 132016

Arlene Ness, Drum Rattle, 2006
Photo: Ann Cameron

Part of the Talking Stick Festival 2016 in Vancouver in February was the MatriArts Visual Arts Exhibition, curated by Lou-Ann Neel, advised by Dr. Mique’l Dangeli.

Each of the woman artists were invited to exhibit a work “that they simply had to keep”, and comment on this special attachment. Many were works that related to family and special ceremonies, such as Arlene Ness’s work above. In her words “The design for this piece is a memorial for my grandfather-in-la … The chief is wearing a headdress to denote his name and history, he is holding a talking stick to represent his storytelling, the fish and turbulent water is to represent the wild rapids of the river in which we harvested the salmon.”

Feb 072016

Lalakenis: All Directions
A Journey of Truth and Unity
Photo: Ann Cameron

How can art express the frustration and pain of injustice and a troubled history?

An exhibition has opened at the Belkin Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia that tells the story of a dramatic protest undertaken by somel BC First Nations in 2014. Lalakenis: All Directions, a Journey of Truth and Unity presents powerful videos and objects related to a journey from BC to Ottawa. A group of indigenous people went to the capital of Canada to break a copper in front of the Parliament of Canada. This “shaming ceremony” was a strong reproach to the Conservative government for its neglect of the environment, and its callous disregard of First Nations issues. Haida leader Guujaaw, Kwakwaka’wakw artist Beau Dick and his daughters Linnea and Geraldine, and many others, organized the ceremonies. Guujaaw broke the Taaw copper in front of the Parliament buildings.

Exhibition-related programs at the Belkin Gallery include Tea with Beau on Thursdays in January, February and March, from 1 to 2 pm, Conversations on Thursday February 11, 1-2 pm, and a Concert with the UBC Contemporary Players on Friday, April 8 at 2 pm.


Cutting Copper, Indigenous Resurgent Practice will be two days of performances and discussions on Friday and Saturday, March 4 and 5, 2016. The symposium is a collaborative project between the grunt gallery in Vancouver and the Belkin Art Gallery.

The word “Resurgence” in the title of the event is described as “the rebuilding of Indigenous nations according to our own political, intellectual and cultural traditions.”

Registration is required before February 25. Email

For more information, see:

Feb 072016

Haida Artist, Sea Bear Crest Hat, ca 1870
Seattle Art Museum

Pacific Currents, an exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum, presents the theme of “the great ancestral forces” which shaped the cultures of the many indigenous peoples who live along the Pacific coast.

“Artists from as far away as the Sepik River of New Guinea and as near as Puget Sound honor the creatures, spirits, and people who inhabit the waterways of the Pacific. These waterways are also ‘highways’ which require special skills of navigation. Among certain cultures, art can add a protective force or “a technology of enchantment.”

The exhibition runs until March 19, 2017.

Another related show at SAM, People of the Salish Sea, explores the inherent relationship between the Coast Salish people and the waters of the Pacific Northwest in this story of a 2014 Canoe Journey.

Feb 072016

A new way of looking at and learning from museum displays has been introduced at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

In the latest experiment, a “telepresence robot”, mounted on two parallel poles on wheels, topped by a screen, offered to guide visitors through the Hall of Northwest Coast Indians. The voice and image on the screen came from Sean Young, an intern at the Haida Gwaii Museum who sat at his desktop computer in Skidegate BC. Young was able to see the objects in the New York Museum, answer the questions of the New York visitor, and even zoom the camera into the object to discuss details.Haida artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas is shown in this photograph above as he tests the telepresence robot in the New York museum gallery.

Feb 072016

Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, Yeslthadaas, 2010
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

A milestone for Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas also relates to New York: his art work Yelthadaas one of the Coppers from the Hood series, has been purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The British Museum in London is also currently exhibiting their acquisition of Yahgulanaas’ work.

Art opens windows to the space within ourselves, a TED presentation by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, reminds us that art opens all of us to the connections of life, the meaning of ourselves and the space between each other. Take a look, at:

Feb 072016

Dana Claxton, Headdress, 2015
Photo: Dana Claxton

Dana Claxton is from the Lakota First Nations-Wood Mountain reserve in Southwest Saskatchewan, but is a longtime resident of Vancouver. She currently teaches visual art at the University of British Columbia, and is known widely for her multi-media work, especially photography, and for performances which critique the representation of Indigenous people within Western anthropology, art and entertainment.

Dana Claxton: Made to be Ready is an exhibition at the Audain Gallery of Simon Fraser University in downtown Vancouver, focussing on themes of indigenous womanhood, beauty and sovereignty. This arresting image of Claxton, adorned and mysteriously transformed when she dons her collection of beadwork, challenges stereotypes of indigeneity.

Feb 072016

Reg Davidson, (L. to R.) The Blind Halibut Fisherman, Raven Stealing Beaver Lake, and Raven with a Broken Beak, 2015
Photo: Ann Cameron

At Vancouver International Airport (YVR), Haida artist Reg Davidson has created a monumental cluster of large sculptures on the theme of legends of Raven and the Haida people. The lively group is located in the post-security Rotunda area of domestic departures.

YVR has recently published a book about its collection of BC First Nations art, A Sense of Place, by Robin Laurence. It is available in bookstores, and at the airport at the new Lattimer Gallery, near Bill Reid’s masterpiece The Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Jade Canoe.

Feb 072016

Archipelago Management Board Ceremonial Robe
Design by Kilsi Gitkinjuuwaas, Gitsgaa, Ron Wilson and others
Photo: Ann Cameron

The exhibition Gwaii Haanas: Land Sea People continues at the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art in Vancouver, until March 27, 2016.

Artists from many backgrounds have created wonderful works to honour the special qualities of the Gwaii Haanas, the only place in Canada where nature is protected from mountaintop to sea floor. The Park is managed in a spirit of co-operation, and the exhibition too came from a collaborative partnership.

A Family Day Program will be held at the Bill Reid Gallery on Saturday afternoon, February 6, 2016. Rosa Quintana will give an artist talk on February 27 at 2 pm. Quintana was a selected artist in residence for 2015; her work and research focussed on Gwaii Hanaas poles.


Feb 072016

Exhibition poster, with painting by Antoine Tzapoff, Kolosh, Tlingit Warrior, 2015

The Musee du Nouveau Monde in La Rochelle, western France, has organized an exhibition of Northwest coast art and culture, open until June 13, 2016.

More than 120 objects, from private and museum collections throughout France, tell of the diversity and sophistication of the traditional life of the people of the Pacific coast.

The Musee du Nouveau Monde presents this show as the third in a cycle about North American indigenous cultures: Children of the Thunderbird – eastern cultures, and Children of the Sun – the southwest, preceded the current show.

There are lectures, and a “Shadow Theatre” presentation based on texts by Bill Reid.

Accompanying smaller exhibitions are devoted to Edward Curtis, the painter Antoine Tzapoff, and historical photographs.

There is a catalogue, and a booklet for families.

For more information, see

Feb 072016

Sara Siestreem gives a Gallery Talk in November 2015

The Portland Museum’s Center for Contemporary Native Art has opened its new, dedicated Gallery for presenting the work and perspectives of contemporary Native artists. After its opening in Fall 2015, the Center will host two rotating exhibitions each year and feature a range of related programming. Currently, Thatlwa, Thlatwa: Indigenous Currents has work by artists Greg A. Robinson, Sara Siestreem and Greg Archuleta, until March 13, 2016. For more information, including programing and videos, see

Feb 072016

Don and Trace Yeomans, Eagle Salmon Blanket
Peabody Essex Museum

The Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem Massachusetts has large collection of Northwest coast objects, mostly because of Salem’s prominence as a seaport for whalers and traders in the 19th century.

The PEM has an exhibition Raven’s Many Gifts: Native Art of the Northwest Coast, which has run since 2014 and will close on September 20, 2016.

The installation includes historical and contemporary work, emphasizing the living, changing culture of these communities.

Feb 072016

Dorothy Grant, Eagle Gala Dress and Sea Wolf Tuxedo

Another PEM exhibition has attracted much admiration, and thought-provoking debates about the appropriation by the fashion industry of motifs and styles rooted in indigenous culture.

In Native Fashion Now, nearly 100 works spanning the last 50 years explore the vitality and diversity of aboriginal fashion designers, from pioneering style-makers to contemporary innovative designers making their mark in the fashion world.

As we might expect Haida designer Dorothy Grant is represented, as well as Alano Edzerza, among others. The museum show continues to March 6, 2016.The museum’s Gift Shop is part of the exhibition experience. Beware of the Trickster playing cards.

Dec 122015

Corrine Hunt with abusa-ma’x’inux (Grandmother Orca) Totem
Coastal Peoples Gallery opening
Photo: Ann Cameron

It is a Good Day, Olaka Iku Da Nala, a solo exhibition of work by Kwakwaka’wakw/Tlingit artist Corrine Hunt, opened on December 5, 2015, at the Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery in Gastown, Vancouver.

The artist introduced new works in reclaimed red cedar and steel, new forms and ideas, and an innovative painting technique in acrylics. The jewellery created for the show was cut and engraved, silver and gold, in smooth dynamic shapes.


Dec 122015

Vancouver Airport Art Foundation Awards Ceremony, May 2015
Photo: Ann Cameron

The Vancouver Airport Art Foundation, YVRAF, has announced the deadline of January 29, 2016, for applications to the Youth Scholarship Awards. Applicants must be emerging artists between the ages of 16 and 26, be of BC or Yukon First Nations ancestry, and have the goal of becoming a professional artist. The YVRAF programs, now in their 11th year, have brought forward many remarkable artists.

Further details can be found at

The deadline of January 29, 2016 also applies to the YVR Art Foundation’s Mid-Career Artist Scholarships who wish to extend their work into a new area and further their art careers.


Dec 122015

2015 Presentation Ceremony BC Creative Achievement Awards
Artists L to R: Joe David (Lifetime Achievement), Ya’Ya Heit, Arlene Ness, Laura Wee Lay Laq, Linda Bob, Rande Cook, and the Hon. John Rustad
Photo: Ann Cameron

The British Columbia Achievement Foundation celebrated its 2015 annual BC Creative Achievement Awards for First Nations Art in December.

The recipients invited family, friends and community leaders to Vancouver to share in the Presentation Ceremony. It was beautiful to hear artist after artist declare that they worked to honour their family, their ancestors and their communities.

The website will soon have the excellent videos created to portray the artists, their art and their philosophies.

Dec 122015

The Native Education College (NEC) and grunt gallery are partnering with three Vancouver-based First Nations artists: Corey Bulpitt, Sharifah Marsden and Jerry Whitehead to create a large-scale mural that celebrates the NEC’s 30th Anniversary at their location in Mount Pleasant in Vancouver.

The mural will be created on the east wall of the Tsimilano Building East 5th Ave at Main Street. Painting will take place in April 2016.

For more information, contact or call 778.235.6928, or visit:

Dec 122015

Sealaska Heritage Institute

The Sealaska Heritage Institute manages cultural and educational programs for Alaskan First Nations from its headquarters in Juneau Alaska. George Blucker of Texas found and purchased an old Chilkat robe at a flea market in Illinois. Twenty-five years later, in November 2015, he advertised it for sale on eBay. The Institute staff persuaded him to close the auction early; Mr. Blucker settled for funds raised quickly by the highly-motivated Institute.

On December 1, a ceremony was held in Juneau to celebrate the arrival of the robe in Alaska. The ceremony can be seen on video at

The robe appears to be a funerary object because of the frayed edges at the top where it may have been attached to a plank that was placed above a gravesite. The fraying has made the weft and warp visible; this will allow artists to examine the materials and technique the weaver used, and learn from her, even after more than a century.

The robe will be danced at Celebration 2016, the biennial dance-and-culture festival in Juneau, sponsored by SHI, which runs from June 8 to 11, 2016. The theme for 2016 is Haa Shuká:  Weaving Traditional Knowledge into our Future.

Dec 122015

The Splatsin Community Centre, Enderby BC

The Splatsin people, of the Secwepemc nation, reside on Indian reserve lands adjacent to the City of Enderby to the south and across the Shuswap river to the east, in south-central British Columbia. On December 5, 2015, a ceremony was held for the opening of a new Centre. The circular building resembles the community’s kekuli, the traditional pit houses. The building is further enhanced by its a “Green” planted roof.

For more information, see

More on Splatsin history is at

Nov 142015

Haida curator, Nika Collison, speaks at Simon Fraser University
Photo: Ann Cameron

Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and Burnaby celebrated the installation of The Black Eagle. Several replicas were made in fiberglass from a canoe, Loo Taas, carved by a team led by Bill Reid for Expo ’86. One of the replicas, called the Black Eagle, has been placed in a protected place outdoors at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby campus. In October a blessing ceremony took place to mark the installation of the canoe on SFU’s campus. See

Nov 142015

Research Assistant and Registrar Kevin Gibbs (R.)
in front of Christian Chapman’s, Don’t Whistle at the Northern Lights
Aboriginal Art Centre,
Dept. of Indigenous & Northern Affairs, Ottawa/Gatineau
Photo: Ann Cameron

Canada’s Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs (newly named in November 2015) includes an art collection of 4000 works of art, obtained through various acquisition and exhibition programs, as well as gifts and donations.

The purchase of art directly from the artists and their representatives over the past 50 years has made the AANDC Aboriginal Art Collection one of the most important and comprehensive art collections of contemporary Canadian Aboriginal art in Canada. At 2 or 3 year periods a call goes out for submissions for acquisition from Canadian indigenous artists, over 18 years of age.

There is an art centre and gallery in the ministry building in Gatineau, open daily, with exhibitions from the collection. For more, see

Nov 142015

Kelli Clifton

The Museum of Northern British Columbia will present an exhibition of work by Tsimshian artist Kelli Clifton. Theshow explores the relationship between language and art, and learning language through art. Clifton is inspired by her family’s history of fishing and by her desire to learn more of her Tsimshian language, Sm’algyax. The exhibition opens on Friday, December 11, 2015 and runs to January 2016.


Nov 142015

Opening of Gwaii Haanas: Land Sea People
Photo: Jason Shafto

The Great Box and The Final Exam are replicas of ancestral bentwood boxes that have inspired, even mentored Haida artists learning the art of classical formline design. Gwaai and Jaalen Edenshaw copied The Great Box from the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford England; Bill Reid copied a box he called The Final Exam from the Museum of Natural History in New York. These replicas are now teaching tools that enable knowledge to be passed on to the next generation of Haida artists. The Great Box replica is on display at the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art in Vancouver.

The other current BRG exhibition, Gwaii Haanas: Land Sea People, is about one of the most unforgettable places in Canada. Gwaii Haanas is a national park in the Haida Gwaii (see The Beat October 2015), the only place in Canada protected from mountaintop to seafloor; it includes Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and a Haida Heritage Site.

Thirty years after the Haida took a stand at Lyell Island, this unique park exists as an unprecedented example of cooperative management, between the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada.

Programming related to the exhibition includes, on December 11 at 6 pm, The Nature of Things: Gwaii Haanas 30 years later, an evening of film and conversation with Dr. David Suzuki, scientist, broadcaster and environmental activist, Guujaaw, and Miles Richardson. The latter two are former leaders of the Council of the Haida Nation. Peter Lantin, current President, Council of the Haida Nation will also be part of the panel. This will be held at SFU Woodward’s at 140 W. Hastings St., Vancouver.

Both exhibitions run to March 27, 2016.

Nov 142015

Opening performance by Git-Hoan Dancers, Steinbrueck Gallery
Photo: Kiyoshi Toda

Seattle’s Steinbrueck Gallery has opened an exhibition, Power in Movement: Articulation in Northwest Coast Art. It features contemporary articulated and movable sculptures, used to enhance the dramatic performances of traditional stories in the northwest cultures. Puppets, articulated masks, rattles and other accessories underline the powerful narratives.

See works by artists from many northwest cultures: Haida Corey Savard, Tsimshian David R. Boxley, Coast Salish Joseph Wilson and Chinook Greg Robinson.