Bill Reid, Bear Mother Pole, c.1986/87, alder wood. Gift of Charles Peacock Collection, 2017.
Bill Reid (1920-1998) was a carver, sculptor, goldsmith, printmaker, writer, and community activist. Born in Victoria, BC to a Haida mother and an American father, he was a member of the Raven Clan and lived at a time of great transition: the 1950s - 1980s were a turning point for Haida and other indigenous artists. Reid immersed himself into the art and traditional stories of the Haida, while imbuing his work with his own distinctive style.
Bear Mother Pole depicts the mother bear as the main figure on the pole, with her two cubs, one in human form between her feet, and one in bear form above her head. The shapes and composition of the pole are in classic Haida form, but are also reflective of Reid's individualistic style. This pole was carved with assistance from Garner Moody, Clayton Gladstone and Don Yeomans.
During his career, he became one of the best known Indigenous artists in Canada. Reid carved the first full size totem pole to be raised in over 100 years in his mother's village of Skidegate on Haida Gwaii, and was the first to carve a full size Haida canoe in the 20th century, for Expo 86. Reid is remembered for his large-scale public sculptures, such as Raven and the First Men (1980) at UBC, and The Spirit of Haida Gwaii (The Black Canoe) (1991), at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC. Reid was the recipient of honorary doctorates from many institutions, including University of Western Ontario, University of Toronto, and University of British Columbia. He received the Order of BC in 1994 and the Canada Council's Molson Prize for cultural achievement.
Marianne Nicolson, Oh, How I Long For Home, 2016, neon. Gift of the artist, 2017. Photo: Blaine Campbell.
Marianne Nicolson's practice engages with Indigenous histories and politics arising from her involvement in cultural revitalization and sustainability. This work, created in red neon, spells out, 'Wa'lasan xwalsa kan ne'nakwe' which translates to Oh, How I Long For Home from Kwak'wala. Referring to a "return" as well as to the cycle of the sun rising, the double meaning of the 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. The work addresses a history of the city as a conflicted promise to Indigenous people. Representing monetary wealth, western education and a pledge of so-called progress, the city's neon lights, stocked department stores, and schools project a notion of success for people outside urban centres. The work was a response to the specific site of the Teck Gallery on unceded Musqueam, Squamish and Tseil-Waututh lands, in a university campus located in a building that was formerly Spencer's Department Store.
Marianne Nicolson ('Tayagila'ogwa) is a Victoria based artist. Nicolson is of Scottish and Dzawada'enuxw First Nations descent. Her artistic and academic practices are platforms to advocate for Indigenous linguistic and cultural resurgence. Her work has been exhibited at Vancouver Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, National Indian Art Centre, UBC Museum of Anthropology, 17th Biennale of Sydney, National Museum of the American Indian, Confederation Centre for the Arts, and Taipei Fine Arts Museum. She has undertaken numerous public artworks. She holds a PhD in Linguistics and Anthropology from University of Victoria, an MFA in Visual Art from University of Victoria and a BFA from Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design.
Ken Lum, Youth Portraits, 1985, offset lithograph on newsprint. Gift of Bill Jeffries, 2017.
Part of a series, Lum's Youth Portrait is a photographic offset lithograph in black and white on newsprint. It is comprised of a grid of 16 photographs of diverse youth ranging from infants to young adults. It is part of a larger series that includes a broad range of individuals from across a social spectrum. In 1985 the artist printed numerous sheets of the larger series in order to cut out the portraits to create an exhibition at the Coburg Gallery by spray-mounting each of the individual images onto the walls to create a constellation of faces. This work was an extra print that did not get cut up for the exhibition. Youth Portrait is an early work within Lum's practice and offers insight into his early photographic and installation practice.
Ken Lum was born in Vancouver in 1956 and lived in the city until 2012 when he moved to Philadelphia where he is a Professor in the School of Design, the University of Pennsylvania. A graduate of SFU (BA in Science) and UBC (MFA), Lum has a significant practice as an artist and educator. He has an Honorary Doctorate from SFU. Lum is a highly recognized artist nationally and internationally; his work has been exhibited and collected widely.