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Focus Exhibition

Godanxee'wat: Stone Ribs
January 12 to February 18, 2015

StoneRibs Gwaai Edenshaw
Gwaai Edensahw: Godanxee'wat: Stone Ribs, 2014. Photo: David Ball

January 12 to February 18, 2015, the Bill Reid Gallery will feature Godanxee'wat: Stone Ribs, created by Haida artist, Gwaai Edenshaw. This eight and a half foot pole, originally carved in Yellow-cedar, is an edition of seven bronze totem poles that were made in a multi-stage, labour intensive process. The final colour of the patina was chosen to reflect the famous polished black argillite carvings, exclusive to the Haida.

Edenshaw combines his understanding of Haida culture, Haida oral history and sculpture to interpret Godanxee'wat: Stone Ribs, a celebrated supernatural being and ancestor to the Haida people.

Godanxee'wat: Stone Ribs also has a contemporary story that has been an inspiring component to the world renowned Haida Gwaii Rediscovery Youth Program, which started in 1977. The Rediscovery program brings youth together to learn cultural knowledge, and connect with the land and sea. They participate in two week long camps, where they leave the trappings of electricity, and modernity behind and learn cultural knowledge, survival skills, respect for one another and the world around them. At the end of each session, one youth participant is awarded and ceremonially honored the title, Stone Ribs. Those who have earned it, carry the name with pride. It has come represent self-discovery, courage and selflessness. Rediscovery has since been adapted around the world, to connect youth to their own power and to the natural world around them. Edenshaw brings together his personal experience with Haida Gwaii Rediscovery, Haida Oral History, and classical Haida carving expression to present this beautiful continuum of story telling through Godanxee'wat: Stone Ribs.

Gwaai Edenshaw's first mentor at the age of 16, was Bill Reid. His artistic career spanning 20 years plus, he has grown, and works in a variety of different media and with other senior artists and collaborators.

Current Exhibition

AKOS: Corey Bulpitt
June 5, 2014 to February 15, 2015

AKOS: Corey Bulpitt
Corey Bulpitt: Eagle Pole, 2013.

AKOS presents the monumental works of spray can art by Haida artist, Corey Bulpitt. This solo exhibition is a remarkable, natural fusion between Hip Hop and Haida cultures.

AKOS is Corey Bulpitt's graffiti tag. Taakeet Gaaya, his Haida name, translates to "Gifted Carver". Both names reveal two art forms that have successfully come together through this exhibition. For over 20 years, Bulpitt has been developing his skills as an artist — beginning as a graffiti artist in the 90's. At the age of 15, he immersed himself in DJing, MCing, breaking and graffiti, key elements of Hip Hop culture. At age 20, he returned to Haida Gwaii for a four-year apprenticeship under Haida master carver Christian White. His mentorship included the study of Haida social structure, clan structure, oral history, 2D art and 3D carving, ancestral music and dance.

Graffiti and Haida formline design share many of the same artistic values; continuous flow that expands and compresses, balance in design, colour, positive and negative; narrative, reflective of society and of social status. Selected works pay homage to the artistic design and skills of Haida ancestors. Others fuse together expressions of Haida and Hip Hop cultures, and reveal a vivid connection to formline and the freedom of graffiti.

In the words of Curator, Kwiaahwah Jones, " An artist requires a special talent to be able to first learn the rules, and then break them in the proper way. AKOS provides a creative meeting point for the past, present and future."

AKOS was made possible by the generous support of: Shop Wrong, HaiCo and East Van Moving.

Upcoming Exhibition

The Box of Treasures: Gifts from the Supernatural, Works by Beau Dick
March 4 to September 27, 2015

beau Dick
Beau Dick. Photo: Farah Nosh

The Box of Treasures: Gifts from the Supernatural reveals masterworks created for Kwakwaka'wakw potlatches by master artist and traditional Chief, Beau Dick, Gigame Walis Gyiyam (Gray whale).

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

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