Eugene Alfred – Curator’s Choice Winter 2021Curator's Choice
Being a part of a multi-generational family of Northern Tutchone and Tlingit artists, from beadworkers to draftsmen, Eugene Alfred has established himself as a masterful carver and elegant illustrator. His work approaches Northwest Coast forms with a contemporary “postmodern pulse,” while utilizing traditional methods of tool-making, wood harvesting, and curing.
Born in Mayo, Yukon, in 1970, Eugene is a member of the crow clan from the Selkirk First Nation of Pelly Crossing.
As early as kindergarten, Eugene learned to draw on cardboard and began making toys for himself as a child. While still very young, he grew up spending summers with his grandparents and lived a life off the land, which he found particularly stimulating.
His uncle Martin was an accomplished draftsman whom Eugene watched with fascination and then later translated this experience into his own images. Eugene’s early dedication to his craft has allowed him the needed patience when carving, notably on larger-scale projects.
His studies began in 1986 with courses in Tlingit design with luminary artist, Dempsey Bob. His education continued with a diploma at Kitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art where he even learned to make his own tools. Subsequent courses in marketing, sculpture, and screen printing at ‘Ksan Museum, Keyano College, and MacDougall Silk Screen Printing Ltd. respectively provided him with an educational foundation.
The world of learning continues in Eugene’s life today, as he has been a teacher for many years. He teaches workshops in Canadian public schools, prisons, and abroad in Europe.
As well, Alfred has taught his carving practice as an alumnus at the Kitanmaax School in Hazelton, British Columbia. He also works as the fish and wildlife officer for Selkirk First Nation.
Eugene has been awarded the REVEAL Indigenous Art Award on May 22, 2017. To this day, Eugene has been practicing his art for public and private collections across the world. From the emperor of Japan‘s esteemed private collection, to Canada’s Senate building, his work has a distinction of global magnitude.
“Be confident, be willing to share. It’s about exploring who you are.”
To view Eugine Alfred’s entire collection in our Gallery and for more details, please click here.
Excerpts & Artist Photo Credit: Eugene Alfred