Search for "Northwest Coast"

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Pacific Ocean and Canada

The Pacific Ocean is the world’s largest ocean. It covers more than 30 per cent of the Earth’s surface — an area roughly the same as the Atlantic and Indian oceans combined. Canada’s relationship with the Pacific Ocean is synonymous with the West Coast of British Columbia. The province’s entire ocean shoreline, including the coasts of Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii, form Canada’s Pacific coastal region. More than 75 per cent of the province’s 5 million residents live within 50 km of the coast.

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Robert Davidson

Robert Charles Davidson, CM (also called Guud San Glans, meaning “Eagle of the Dawn" in the Haida language), artist (born on 4 November 1946 in Hydaburg, Alaska). Of Haida and Tlingit descent, Davidson is a highly respected painter, master carver, and printmaker. In his long artistic career, he has expanded the boundaries of Northwest Coast image and design in increasingly complex and unconventional serigraphs, jewellery and sculpture. His work has been displayed across Canada, including at the National Gallery of Canada, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Canadian Museum of History, as well as internationally. Davidson was appointed an Officer to the Order of Canada in 1996 and was promoted to Member in 2022. (See also Northwest Coast Indigenous Art in Canada.)

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Totem Pole

The totem pole (also known as a monumental pole) is a tall structure carved out of cedar wood, created by Northwest Coast Indigenous peoples to serve variously as a signboard, genealogical record and memorial. Some well-known carvers include Mungo Martin, Charles Edenshaw, Henry Hunt, Richard Hunt and Stanley Hunt.

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Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun

Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, Coast Salish and Okanagan (see Interior Salish) artist and activist (born in 1957 at Kamloops, British Columbia). Yuxweluptun trained at the Emily Carr College of Art (now the Emily Carr University of Art and Design) in the late 1970s and early 1980s, focusing on historical European art. His paintings employ both traditional Northwest Coast imagery (see Northwest Coast Indigenous Art) and surrealist visual language to critique colonialism, racism against Indigenous peoples, capitalism, and environmental destruction, among other issues. In addition to paintings, Yuxweluptun has produced multimedia artworks, videos and performances that are political in nature. In 2013, Yuxweluptun was awarded a Fellowship at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis, USA. Yuxweluptun’s art is featured in the permanent collections of many prominent galleries and museums in North America.

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Tlingit

The Tlingit (sometimes also known as the Łingít) are Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America who share a common cultural heritage. Tlingit means “people of the tides.” In the 2016 Census, 2,110 people identified as having Tlingit ancestry.

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Freda Diesing

Freda Diesing, Haida artist (born 2 June 1925 in Prince Rupert, BC; died there 3 December 2002). Diesing was best known for her contributions to reviving traditional Haida art forms, including wood carving, mask carving and totem carving. She was one of the few women carvers who mastered the medium, and was partly responsible for bringing the style to an international audience. Diesing worked to ensure the style and tradition of Haida art was passed on to new generations. (See also Northwest Coast Indigenous Art and Contemporary Indigenous Art in Canada.)

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Emily Carr

Emily Carr, painter, writer (born 13 December 1871 in Victoria, BC; died 2 March 1945 in Victoria). Along with Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven and David Milne, Emily Carr was one of the pre-eminent Canadian painters of the first half of the 20th century, and perhaps the most original. She was also one of the only major female artists of that period in either North America or Europe. Her bold, almost hallucinatory works depict nature as a furious vortex of organic growth. They have also been criticized as appropriations of Indigenous culture. Carr was also a celebrated author. Klee Wyck, a collection of short stories based on her experiences with Indigenous people, won a Governor General's Literary Award in 1941.