Mouse Woman drawing by Luke J. Parnell

The Beat

A monthly newsletter about the art of

First Nations on Canada’s West Coast

Welcome to the thirty-third issue of The Beat, a free, independent newsletter that brings you up-to-date on the art events of the First Nations on Canada’s Pacific Coast.

We respectfully acknowledge the Coast Salish Peoples, on whose traditional territories we live and work, and all the First Nations of the Pacific coast.


The summer of 2010 is the best time ever to view weaving of the west coast First Nations.

The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art opens Time Warp: Contemporary Textiles of the Northwest Coast on July 16 2010. The exhibition celebrates the textile and fibre art of 20 emerging, mid-career and internationally recognized Aboriginal artists from Alaska, Yukon, BC, and Washington State.

Co-curated by Dr. Martine Reid, consulting curator at the Bill Reid Gallery and Haida Artist and Master Weaver, Evelyn Vanderhoop, the exhibition features works by: Tracy Auchter, Carrie Anne Vanderhoop Bellis, Delores Churchill, Janice Criswell, Sherri Dick, Lisa Hageman, Lani Hotch, Lily Hudson, Shelly Laws, Victoria Moody, Marie Oldfield, Susan Pavel, Clarissa Rizal, Isabel Rorick, Ann Smith, Debra Sparrow, Robyn Sparrow, Lisa Telford, Evelyn Vanderhoop, and William White.

Northwest Coast textiles are fundamental to cultural exchange and ceremony. Therefore, the works are displayed on custom-made body forms to show how the pieces were designed to be worn and experienced. Highlights include Coast Salish weaving, Raven's Tail and Naaxiin style (Chilkat) robes, tunics and capes, as well as cedar bark and spruce root clothing and accessories. It is a chance to see brilliant new work of the highest quality.

Friday, July 16, 11:00am-12:30pm, there will be an Artists’ Dialogue led by renowned Haida Master Weaver and recipient of multiple international awards, Delores Churchill of Ketchikan, Alaska. Other programs will be scheduled through fall 2010. Time Warp runs from July 16, 2010 to January 16, 2011.

A beautiful 72-page colour catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

The Bill Reid Gallery is at 639 Hornby Street in Vancouver. For more information see

Evelyn Vanderhoop, Canoe Cape, 2010

From Time Warp at the Bill Reid Gallery

Photo by Kenji Nagai

In Victoria at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria until August 22 2010, SMASH: International Indigenous Weaving presents more than 60 examples of weaving by Aboriginal artists from five regions: the BC Coast, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, Alaska, the American Southwest and Hawaii. The exhibition is curated by Canada Council Aboriginal Curator in Residence, Rose M. Spahan from the Salish nation. For more see

The Grunt Gallery is hosting an event featuring the drawings of artist Lawrence Paul Yuxwelupton on July 15 2010, at 6 to 8 pm.
The publication Neo-Native Drawings and Other Works documents and expands on texts about Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun's exhibition that was held at the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver March 19 to May 16, 2010.

This publication, a 40-page soft cover book, includes illustrations of thirty-nine drawings, and texts by artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun ("Drawing"), artist, writer and MFA student Peter Morin ("Storytelling: Articulating Ancient Pathways"), and curator Petra Watson ("An Insurgent Act of Cultural Translation"). Archival materials from Yuxweluptun's past projects at Grunt will be featured in the gallery for the event. The gallery is at 350 East 2nd Avenue, Unit 116. See for further information.

The Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Art Gallery at the Indian and Inuit Art Centre in Gatineau Quebec (just outside Ottawa) is exhibiting work by Kwakiutl Nimpkish artist Mary Anne Barkhouse, who was born in Vancouver now lives in Minden Ontario. “Mary Anne Barkhouse's work examines environmental concerns and indigenous culture through the use of animal imagery - wolves, ravens, moose and beaver are juxtaposed against a diversity of background situations.”

The show, Waiver – An Installation by Mary Anne Barkhouse continues until October 8 2010.

Kwakwaka’wakw artist Beau Dick exhibited work at the Blanket Contemporary Art gallery on Alexander Street in Vancouver in May and June. The show Pookwis was sold out. “Beau presents sensuous and irrational incarnations of Pookwis, the serpent who was turned into a man and who lives under the sea. By doing a deep investigation into the canons of design he has inherited through Kwakwaka’wakw culture, outside the anthropology museum, or the First Nations art shops, he illuminates the meaning in relation to its use.”

For more see

Beau Dick, Pookwis (variation 4), 2010

at the Blanket Gallery

Preston Singletary: Echoes, Fire, and Shadows by Melissa G. Post accompanies the exhibition by that name currently at Tacoma’s Museum of Glass. The Tlingit artist Singletary led the way in the creation of distinctive glass sculptures in a Northwest coast-derived style. (See The Beat July 2009) The exhibition continues until September 19 2010. See

Challenging Traditions: Contemporary First Nations Art of the Northwest Coast in the Great Hall at The Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford until October 3 2010. This is the only chance to see this exhibition in British Columbia. It was organized by curator Ian Thom through the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, and has travelled from Toronto to Europe and the United States.

Participating artists are Sonny Assu, Robert Davidson, Beau Dick, Alano Edzerza, Philip Gray, Jim Hart, Chuck Ya' Ya Heit, Philip Janze, Klatle Bhi, Corey Moraes, Peter Morin, Marianne Nicolson, Chester Patrick, Tim Paul, Susan Point, Preston Singletary, Steve Smith, Joe Wilson, Lyle Wilson, Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas and Don Yeomans.

The accompanying book is published by Douglas & McIntyre.

For more information about the exhibition, see

Lyle Wilson The Soul of Kwanalas, 2007-8

in Challenging Traditions in Abbotsford

Seattle’s Burke Museum will present an exhibition about weaving: Weaving Heritage: Textile Masterpieces from the Burke Collection from October 2 2010 to February 27 2011. The exhibit will feature over 100 textile masterpieces from the
Americas, Asia, and the Pacific Islands.

See http://

The Stonington Gallery in Seattle is hosting lectures on Sundays at 2 pm: Northwest Coast jewelry art historian Katie Bunn-Marcuse on August 29th 2010, jeweller and linguist Joan Tenenbaum (October 17th), print-maker and carver Puyallup artist Shaun Peterson (October 24th) and renowned glassblower Quinault artist Marvin Oliver (November 14th). Sunday afternoon lectures are free, first come first seated.

Several scholarly lectures are planned for Wednesdays at 7 pm: July 28th scholar and artist Bill Holmes will speak about Northwest coast helmets, hats and headdresses. On November 17 Gene Tagaban, Tlingit storyteller and singer will share native songs, tales and music. In December Haida artist Robert Davidson will speak about the historic raising of his totem pole in 1969 in Massett.

Wednesday evening tickets should be purchased in advance for $5 from Stonington Gallery, either via phone at 206 405 4040, or email See


The University of Washington Press has published Shadow Tribe: The Making of Columbia River Indian Identity, a history of the native peoples along the Columbia River who refused to settle on the government-designated reservations in Oregon and Washington states. “Largely overlooked in traditional accounts of tribal dispossession and confinement, their story illuminates the persistence of off-reservation Native communities and the fluidity of their identities over time.”

Andrew Fisher will be speaking at the Peterson Room at the University of Washington campus on October 14 2010 at 4 pm.

The Totem Pole: An Intercultural History by Aldona Jonaitis and Aaron Glass is published by the University of Washington press and in Canada by the University of British Columbia Press.

The Totem Pole reconstructs the intercultural history of the art form in its myriad manifestations from the eighteenth century to the present. Aldona Jonaitis and Aaron Glass analyze the totem pole's continual transformation since Europeans first arrived on the scene, investigate its various functions in different contexts, and address the significant influence of colonialism on the proliferation and distribution of carved poles. The authors also describe their theories on the development of the art form: its spread from the Northwest Coast to world's fairs and global theme parks; its integration with the history of tourism and its transformation into a signifier of place; the role of governments, museums, and anthropologists in collecting and restoring poles; and the part that these carvings have continuously played in Native struggles for control of their cultures and their lands.”

On August 24 2010 Aldona Jonaitis, the former director of the University of Alaska Museum of the North, will be at a launch event at the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, and on September 4 at 7 pm at Hearthside Books in Juneau Alaska.

The Visual Arts in Canada: The Twentieth Century, edited by Anne Whitelaw, Brian Foss and Sandra Paikowsky, was published in May 2010. A comprehensive overview [of Canadian art history], this volume embraces painting, sculpture, photography, design, video, and conceptual and cross-disciplinary art, as well as studies of art institutions and historiography. Regarding the art of Canada’s First Nations, there are three chapters: one by Ruth Phillips “Aboriginal Modernities: First Nations Art, c.1880-1970”, and “Contemporary First Nations Art since 1970: Individual Practices and Collective Activism” by Lee-Ann Martin, as well as one by Ingo Hessel on Inuit art. The illustrated 496-page volume is published by Oxford University Press and listed at $85.00.

The May edition of Haida Laas, the journal of the Haida Nation, is on the Nation’s website at

The Klahowya Village in Vancouver’s Stanley Park is the result of a creative collaboration of Aboriginal Tourism BC and the Vancouver Park Board. Until September 6 2010, visitors to the park can catch the Spirit Catcher Train, a 13-minute miniature railroad journey into the forest as an orientation to the First Nations history in Stanley Park. Elders and artists are at the train plaza to welcome visitors, and cultural performances are offered daily at 12, 2 and 4 pm. There is praise for the traditional food, especially the smoked salmon and venison sausages. Trains leave on the hour.

Klahowya Village in Stanley Park, Vancouver

Tribal Journeys

The great canoe voyage along the west coast of North America by many coastal First Nations is culminating in a welcome to the home of the Makah First Nation in Neah Bay on the northwest tip of Washington State July 19 to 24 2010. Among the participants are representatives of the Comox and

The Burke Museum in Seattle is sponsoring a group of Ainu paddlers, members of the indigenous people of Japan, part of a year-long cultural exchange. The Ainu will join the Tulalip and Suquamish tribes on the journey.

For more information see

The Governor-General of Canada announced recently that Gitksan leader and artist Earl Muldon has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. This outstanding chief is one of the artists who created the monumental wooden doors of the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology (now displayed inside). Chief Muldon was born in Kispiox in 1936. He is represented in Vancouver by the Lattimer Gallery, and also by the Petroglyph Gallery in Bella Coola BC.


Appleton Galleries and Auctions on Hornby Street in Vancouver has closed after years selling First Nations art in Vancouver.

Bonhams in San Francisco held an auction of Native American Art on June 7 2010. Outstanding prices were paid for a 7”long Haida or Tlingit eagle effigy bowl; the successful bidder paid US$146,000, three times the estimate.

Prices realized remain online at

The Skinner Inc American Indian & Ethnographic Art auction in Boston on May 15 included a number of Northwest coast lots, with prices at or above estimates. The catalogue with prices paid is available at

At Sotheby’s New York auction of American Indian Art on May 14 2010, a Northwest Coast Copper Shield, whole and 26 “ high, estimated at US$20-30,000, sold for $25,000. For more, see

Kilshaw’s in Victoria BC is holding A Collectables & First Nations auction on September 2010. See

Bill Reid’s bronze sculpture Killer Whale (Chief of the Undersea World) sold for $702,000 at Heffels Canadian art auction in Vancouver on May 26 2010. Another sculpture from the same edition by Reid had sold for $414,000 in 2002. The sculpture of the Killer Whale was first created in a larger version for the fountain at the entrance of the Vancouver Aquarium.

Coast Salish artist Thomas Cannell has installed Vitality, four basalt slabs over 7 feet tall, at the Burnaby Spirit Square, east of Vancouver near the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts. Cannell is the son of renowned artist Susan Point.

The grand opening of the Burnaby Spirit Square is on July 18 2010.

Thomas Cannell, Vitality (detail), 2010

The Museum of Anthropology is holding a World Art Market called WAM! On September 18 and 19 2010. “Inspired by long-established events such as the Santa Fe Indian Market, The Cultural Survival Bazaar, and the Maori Market in Wellington, New Zealand, MOA’s first annual World Art Market will showcase the art, craft, music, dance, and cuisine of indigenous peoples from around the world. A juried design competition will be open to all participating artists, complete with prizes.” See more at

The Bill Reid Centre for Northwest Coast Art Studies (not the same as the Bill Reid Gallery) exists within the Department of Archaeology and First Nation Studies at Simon Fraser University.

A major activity of the Centre is to visually document through photographs, drawings and other works, the depth and richness of Northwest Coast Art in the hundreds of communities in which monumental architecture and sculpture were recorded. Visitors to the Centre’s website can access an archive of west coast First Nations villages or groups, and some of the monumental art found there historically, as well as relevant text. Currently, images from Haida, Tlingit Tsimshian and Kwakwaka’wakw territories are available for viewing at

Squamish carver Xwalacktun (Rick Harry) will be carving a Welcome Figure at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre at Whistler British Columbia during the month of July. The carving is to be placed near the Peak 2 Peak Gondola Station as a continuation of Cultural Journey Sea to Sky up Whistler Mountain. The Welcome Figure is expected to be placed in the Whistler Alpine in August, 2010.

More information on the Centre and the Sea-to-Sky Cultural Journey Audio Tour at


Comments, news and new subscribers to this free newsletter are welcomed. Please write to: Past issues are available at our website

Thank you to David Dumaresq, Martine Reid, Scott Marsden, Sarah Stanners and Petra Watson, and many others for your assistance. The Beat is an independent, not-for-profit project written and published in Vancouver Canada by Ann Cameron. Copyright 2010 Ann Cameron.