May 092017

Linnea Dick delivers a tribute to her late father, Beau Dick, at MOA
Photo: Ann Cameron

A very large gathering of the many family, friends, colleagues and admirers of the late artist Beau Dick took place at the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology on April 30, 2017.

In the above photograph, Cole Speck and Alan Hunt are standing with the artist’s daughter, Linnea.

LaTiesha Fazakas of the Fazakas Gallery has created a documentary on the artist, soon to be released: Beau Dick: Maker of Monsters.

May 092017

Triquet Island in the territory of the Heiltsuk Nation

An excavation at Triquet Island in the Heiltsuk territory of the British Columbia coast has confirmed a tradition of the Heiltsuk origins. It has provided evidence that the Heiltsuk nation has lived in the area and on the island for over 14,000 years.

Several extremely rare artifacts, some decorated, including a wooden atlatl, fish hooks and a hand drill have been found on the site.

The University of Victoria’s Anthropology Department has partnered with the Heiltsuk Nation in the project.

Although sites of habitation in North America that may have been earlier have been studied, this one is very special. It will support Heiltsuk land claims based on longstanding habitation, and its findings also suggest that early migration from Siberia was likely by skilled navigators.

May 092017

LessLIE Sam, Serpents
Stonington Gallery, Seattle

The Stonington Gallery in Seattle has an exhibition Salish Sound Waves: A Group Exhibit of Cutting-Edge Indigenous Visual Artists, until May 28, 2017, running concurrently with the Upstream Music Festival in nearby Pioneer Square. Artists include Marika Swan, LessLIE, Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, Maynard Johnny Jr. and others.

May 092017

The Burnaby Art Gallery
Photo: Ann Cameron

The Salish Weave Collection at the Burnaby Art Gallery
Photo: Ann Cameron

The third largest art gallery collection in British Columbia, the Burnaby Art Gallery has a varied exhibition program, and a collection policy favouring works on paper.

Appropriately, it is currently a good place to see original prints by First Nations artists. The recent donation of a group of prints from the Salish Weave Collection is on view until May 31, 2017. The Salish Weave Collection is a private collection of contemporary Coast Salish art that “weaves together the distinctive forms and designs of established and emerging artists.” Among artists collected by the donors are Andy Everson, Maynard Johnny Jr., lessLIE, Luke and John Marston, Chris Paul, Susan Point and Dylan Thomas.

May 092017

Rande Cooke,
Boy in the Sky, 2017
Fazakas Gallery, Vancouver

Artists Rande Cook and Carollyne Yardley have collaborated again on a themed exhibition, Shapeshifting, at the Fazakas Gallery until May 27, 2017.

The artists drew inspiration from traditional Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation origin stories and cosmology in their ongoing investigation into the animation of the human existence.

In a version of the story of the Sun, artist Doug Cranmer used to tell Cooke about The Boy in the Sky, “a little guy who gets up every morning, puts his abalone earrings on and walks across the sky. His earrings are the things that get the light.”

Other works are a hybrid between western and indigenous traditions and experiences. For more about the show, see

May 092017

The New Burke Museum, Seattle

Work is progressing on the new Burke Museum building on the Seattle campus of the University of Washington. Walls are up, and a roof frame appears to be covering the construction. The single-pitch shed style roof is inspired by the traditional structures of the Coast Salish people of Puget Sound. The opening is set for 2019.

The old Museum, with its impressive collection of Northwest Coast art, continues to be open to the public. The Burke’s annual Native Art Market will be held on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at the museum.

May 092017

The 2016 Scholarship and Grants Reception at YVR
Photo: Ann Cameron

The Vancouver Airport Art Foundation supports BC and Yukon First Nations’ art and artists in several ways. It awards scholarships to young artists, and, in a separate program, to mid-career artists. Travel grants, “Masterpiece Study”, are awarded to artists who plan to study the visual history of their culture in the collections of various museums. A new program for high school age young people supports the recipients’ self-directed work in the visual arts.

In late May, the YVR Airport hosts an event which gathers the recipients, their mentors and families, and donors to the programs, to celebrate the achievements of the recipients. For the names of the 2017 recipients, see

May 092017

Charles Joseph, The Residential School Pole, 2014-16
Collection: Jim Balsillie

On May 3, a 21-m. totem pole by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Charles Joseph was raised just outside the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Attending the ceremony were Mayor Denis Coderre and elders from nearby Mohawk communities.

At six, Joseph was taken from his family to attend residential school in Alert Bay. He described the making of the Residential School Pole as an opportunity to heal, to let go of the pain of that experience. At the bottom of the pole is the figure of a First Nations mother welcoming her children home.

The pole will be in Montreal for the next six months, part of the city’s open-air museum, A Walk of Peace, which celebrates Montreal’s 375th and Canada’s 150th anniversaries. Afterwards the pole will travel to a site near Toronto.

Dr. Michael Lickers, master of the raising ceremony, wisely stated: “Reconciliation is not just about saying, ‘I understand’. It means putting into action what we say we’re going to do.”

For photographs and more information on the symbolism of the pole, see

May 092017

Spirit Wrestler Gallery

Vancouver’s Spirit Wrestler Gallery will hold its annual exhibition, Northern Exposure, of work by staff and students of the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art in Terrace BC. This year is the 10th Anniversary exhibition, and past students have also been invited to submit recent pieces.

A preview of the show is at the Gallery at 1669 West 3rd Avenue in Vancouver on May 25th and 26th. An opening reception with the artists is on Saturday May 27, 2017, at 1 pm.