Many commercial galleries have fine pre-Christmas shows of artwork suitable for gifts. The new David Neel Gallery at Lonsdale and West Esplanade in North Vancouver shows many types of jewellery and paintings. David Neel is a descendant of one of the most active families of carvers on the Pacific coast, including Ellen Neel and Mungo Martin. See http://www.davidneel.com/
The Sealaska Institute regularly presents lectures about First Nations issues, history and art from an Alaskan perspective, which are then made available to the public on the web as videos.
In a recent talk, Emily Moore, a visiting scholar at the Sealaska Institute, spoke about her research on the Totem Parks of Southeast Alaska. She discussed Southeast Alaska totem poles that were made or restored during the Great Depression and shows a 1949 newsreel about the project that was recently rediscovered. The 11-minute film is titled Timber and Totem Poles and was produced by the U.S. Forest Service. Moore is interested in contacting carvers or their relatives in Tlingit and Haida communities who remember someone who worked on the New Deal totem parks, or who has further information on the carving project.
The exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum Behind the Scenes: The Real Story of the Quileute Wolves closed on August 14 2011. (See the excellent SAM website at: http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/exhibit/interactives/Quileute/index.html ).
(Twilight is a series of fictional books and movies, aimed at young people and involving werewolves, which has brought popular attention and tourists to the community; the hero of the series is ostensibly a community member.)
Recently Israel Shotridge, a Tlingit master carver, has undertaken to carve poles and an entrance archway for the Quileute Cemetery in LaPush, Washington, commissioned by the Quileute community leaders.
The town of Sitka Alaska is planning a pole-raising in Sitka National Historic Park on Sunday May 15 2011. Tlingit carver Tommy Joseph has created a 35-foot pole which includes images of an eagle, a raven and a buffalo, the emblem of the National Park Service. The buffalo is partly wrapped in a Ravenstail robe. The pole also has images of Alaskan plants, the devil’s club and skunk cabbage. The raising is the culmination of a year of events to mark the 100th year of Alaska’s oldest national park, including a presentation in 2010 of a Ravenstail robe by Tlingit artist Teri Rofkar.
For more information, see:
Tommy Joseph was commissioned to carve a pole in 2010 for the American Census of that year. The pole travelled through many communities in Alaska during the census data collection process. It was finally raised at the Census Bureau’s headquarters near Washington D.C. in August 2010.
In Seattle, friends and family of John T. Williams are carving a 34-foot Memorial Pole in his honour, the first totem pole to be carved in that city in 70 years. Manke Lumber Company donated the log to Williams’ friends, many of whom, like him, carve and sell their work on Seattle streets
Fifty year old Nuu-chah-nulth carver Williams was shot and killed by a Seattle policeman in September 2010.
The pole is intended for Waterfront Park near the Seattle Aquarium.
Victor Reece, a noted and much-respected Tsimshian artist and storyteller, died on October 21 2010. Reece was born in 1946 near Prince Rupert and spent his childhood in Hartley Bay, his father’s village. He was a member of the Wolf Clan through his maternal Grandmother, Edith McDougal, matriarchal Chief of the Wolf Clan and his hereditary name is Whe’X Hue, meaning Big Sky. He studied at the ‘Ksan School of Art in Hazelton British Columbia and assisted in the design and construction of a traditional Tsimshian longhouse for the Canadian Museum of Civilization’s Great Hall.
Reece was part of the Big Sky Multimedia Storytelling Society, and performed often in the Talking Stick Festival. His Bear Mother Project resulted in three welcome poles at the entrance to the Community Hall on Pender Island.
A video of Reece carving a mask is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlXwcV4Bfx8