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Current Exhibition

Gwaii Haanas: Land Sea People
October 28, 2015 to March 27, 2016

Gwaii Haanas
Dancing the Legacy Pole. Photo: Jason Shafto

Gwaii Haanas: Land Sea People tells stories of the only place in Canada protected from mountaintop to seafloor. Thirty years after the Haida took a stand at Lyell Island, this unique place exists as an unprecedented example of cooperative management, between the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada.

The exhibition has been developed with the knowledge that “Gina Waadluxaan K'ud Ad Kwaagiidang” or everything is connected. It is presented by the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art in the spirit of collaborative partnership with: Parks Canada, the Haida Nation, the Haida Gwaii Museum at Kay Llnagaay, HaiCo, Vancouver International Airport (YVR), Simon Fraser University and the City of Vancouver.

In the words, of exhibition Curator, Kwiaahwah Jones, “the extraordinary energy of Gwaii Haanas feeds the creative spirit, inspiring humanity from time immemorial to create ceremony and art that express the profound connection to this remarkable place.”

This ground-breaking exhibition brings together Haida and Canadian artists who create expressions that reflect the timeless wonder of Gwaii Haanas, which means “Islands of Beauty”. The exhibition reaches deeply into ancient history to tell of the supernatural origins of Haida Gwaii, and the Haida ancestors emerging from the ocean. The ceremonial button robes of the Haida elders, who were the first to be arrested at Lyell Island, represent the stewardship spirit of the Haida people. Films bring forward brilliant images and stories that tell of those who have travelled to Gwaii Haanas, connecting mountain top to seafloor. Paintings and photographs capture the vitality and essence of the landscapes and ancient Haida villages. Altogether, these multiple expressions create a feeling in the Bill Reid Gallery that exists nowhere else but in Gwaii Haanas.

Information on Public Programs

Exhibition Partners
Gwaii Haanas Land Sea People Partners

Focus Exhibition

The Great Box and The Final Exam
October 28, 2015 to March 27, 2016

The Great Box and The Final Exam
Right: The Great Box (detail). Photo: Laura Peers. Left: The Final Exam (detail). Photo: Kenji Nagai

The Great Box and The Final Exam are replicas of ancestral bentwood boxes that have mentored Haida artists in classical formline design. Bill Reid copied a box he called The Final Exam from the Museum of Natural History in New York and Gwaai and Jaalen Edenshaw copied The Great Box from the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford England. These replicas are now teaching tools that enable knowledge to be passed on to the next generation of Haida artists.

Exhibition Partners
Great Box Final Exam Partners

By Jerry Grey, Visual Artist
BILL REID: "Mythic Messengers" 1984
Illustration by Jerry Grey

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