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 http://www.straight.com/arts/888571/haida-master-carver-james-hart-tells-story-indian-residential-schools-reconciliation

See https://www.facebook.com/openspacevic/

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 http://canadianart.ca/features/remembering-beau-dick/

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.

See http://www.documenta14.de/en/

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.