MAY 15 - JUNE 19 , 2003
For many years Alcheringa Gallery has been privileged to work with Aboriginal artists from both sides of the Pacific. This exhibition ' In Celebration of the Feast ' pays homage to works associated with the storage, preparation and ceremonial sharing of food. This collection of works from the Northwest Coast spans a period of twenty - five years created by artists who have become household names and through their leadership, skill and dedication contributed much to the revival of a culture. The works exhibited have until recently been part of an important Canadian collection.
The works from Papua New Guinea reflect the same time frame but in contrast they were created for use as part of a tradition that has been until recently largely uninterrupted. These serving and cooking pots have been used daily in village life as well as in ' Celebration of the Feast '. Rendered in wood as well as in fired clay they exude grace, elegance and splendour.
About the Artists
Young Kwakwaka'wakw artist Stephen Bruce carves a wide repertoire of works including feast dishes such as the magnificent examples featuring Dzunukwa and Thunderbird included in this exhibition. The model totem pole depicting First Man Namxxelagiyu and the Giant Halibut - the origin story of the Nimpkish people. was created as the maquette for the ten foot pole, which now stands in the Nimpkish Cemetery in Alert Bay.
Joe David a member of the Nuu-chah-nulth nation is best known as an innovative mask maker. Well renowned as a printer, jewellery-maker, and carver, he has made a major contribution to the artistic revival on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. David has trained and worked as a commercial artist. A great student of tradition he understands well the context of mask and dance. One of the smaller works in the exhibition is an exquisite shallow bowl in the form of a chiton.
Robert Davidson, of Haida ancestry, is one of Canada's most important contemporary artists. He is a master carver of totem poles and masks, as well as printmaker, painter and jeweller. Davidson has expanded the boundaries of Northwest Coast art and is a leading figure in the renaissance of Haida culture. Carved from maple in 1983, this spoon was exhibited as part of Robert Davidson's solo show ' Eagle of the Dawn ' at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1993.
Haida artist Dorothy Grant is an internationally renowned fashion designer, a career originally inspired by her ceremonial garments including button blankets and dance aprons. Her works can be found in museum and private collections throughout the United States, Western Europe and the Far East. The dance apron in this exhibition was created for the opening of the new location of the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1983 and has been danced at many potlatches since.
Tsimshian artist Henry Green is an exceptional designer, as well as a highly accomplished engraver and carver. He is particularly known for his stunning works in gold and silver. In recent years he has gained recognition as a carver of monumental poles and also smaller works such as the graceful bowl carved from alder which is part of this exhibition.
Coast Salish artists John and Luke Marston have created especially for this exhibition tradtionally made bentwood boxes of Salish design, uniquely original in concept. Joshua Prescott has contributed a box painted in Northern formline design.
Ken Mowatt was raised by his grandparents who gave him a thorough knowledge of the traditional stories of his Gitksan people. Based on that knowledge he has made an innovative contribution to his tradition both in silk-screening and woodcarving. He is considered to be one of the most expressive artists of the Northwest Coast with a deep sense of the spirituality of his people. This bowl of frog design was created from alder in 1980.
Kwakwaka'wakw artist Richard Sumner is known for his superb bentwood boxes. He has revived many earlier styles including the cedar roped trail boxes such as this one, designed to transport regalia and other precious items when travelling. Among his many commissions Sumner was chosen to replicate a particular bentwood bowl admired by the great Haida artist Bill Reid. Its purpose in this case was to serve as a burial box for Bill Reid's ashes.
Internationally acclaimed artist Norman Tait is recognized as a leader in the renaissance of Nisga'a design and carving. Since 1971 he has studied the arts heritage of his people. His expertise encompasses all scales of carving from monumental poles to delicate detailed carving such as the goat horn and alder spoon carved in 1976 now a part of this exhibition.
For information and images about included works, please contact us.