Kelly Robinson – Curator’s Choice Fall 2020

As a descendant of Nuxalk and Nuu-Chan-Nulth nations, artist Kelly Robinson from Bella Coola is garnering attention for his fine jewelry and wood carving designs that are inspired by his dual heritage.

Recently awarded a scholarship by YVR Art Foundation in 2019, Kelly was selected in the Mid-Career Artists category and given $5,000 to attend a school of art, work with a master artist, or create a special project in his community.

While studying under the tutelage of his uncle Alvin Mack, an acclaimed master carver, he developed the skill-set and techniques required to create both two and three dimensional art.  He’s a graduate of the Native Education College where he honed his jewelry-making through their Northwest Coast jewelry program.  Upon completion of the program, he then went on to an apprenticeship with Haida jewelry artist James McGuire.

Prior to his time spent attending the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art, Kelly apprenticed for a brief time with Gordon Dick to become more immersed in the Nuu-Chan-Nulth culture.

Kelly has created a personal style and techniques in the creation of his collection and, while doing so, he had the opportunity to work with other inspiring artists, such as Corey Bulpitt and Dan Wallace.

As well, he has served as the ‘artist-in-residence’ at the Acwsalcta School in Bella Coola, British Columbia, where students are taught the Nuxalk language, customs, stories, dances and culture from pre-school to grade 12.

Published in 2010, Kelly wrote and illustrated a children’s book entitled “Northwest Coast Native Animals” for pre-school, kindergarten and grade 1 levels.  It tells how each animal has many lessons to share and teach us from how to live cooperatively with others, care for our habitat, think before we act, have courage and be wise and respectful.

Of late, Kelly along with Alvin Mack is in charge of managing a team of carvers on two full scale totem poles (as well as carving himself) that will be erected in a new Nuxalk Nation Bighouse “Lhk’uulh” with construction expected to begin in 2021.

“It is very vital for me as a Northwest Coast artist, to recognize the values of not only the art, but the song, dance and language of our people. Through the art, I will begin my educational journey in recapturing the culture we once had.”

To view Kelly Robinson’s entire collection in our Gallery and for more details, please click here.

Excerpts & Artist Photo Credit: Caitlin Thompson, Coast Mountain News, May 21, 2019

Great Thunderbird of Today bracelet by Kelly Robinson, Nuxalk, Nuu-chah-nulth

Salmon Dancer mask by Kelly Robinson, Nuxalk, Nuu-chah-nulth