Derek J. White
Derek White was born in 1965 and raised on Haida Gwaii. His father, Morris White, was a Chief of the Edinsu (Edenshaw) Eagle Clan of Kiusta until he passed away in 1997. Derek’s grandfather, Geoffrey White, was the grandson of the great carver, Charles Edenshaw. At a young age, his father gave up his career as a fisherman to become a full-time artist. He began carving silver, argillite, gold and wood.
Even with all the artistic influence in his house, Derek did not start carving until he finished high school. He carved small pieces, as well as helped his father and brothers carve a red cedar canoe and a carving shed. He was an apprentice under master carver Jim Hart in 1990 until 2000. He worked on several poles with him, including one in San Francisco and the Edenshaw Memorial Pole, which was raised in front of his Longhouse in August of 1999. Derek also worked extensively in his Longhouse, the Frog Constellation, on a large red cedar piece and some smaller projects. In 1995, he worked with his brothers Todd and Christian White and his brothers-in-law on the Cheif Edenshaw House Frontal Pole, which was carved and raised in 1995. This project was led by master carver Chris White.
In the year 2000, Derek worked in Skidegate for Tim Boyko and the Qay-llnaggay Heritage Centre Society on a pole that was raised in the Spring/Summer of 2001.
Derek is currently focusing on his art creating pieces in multiple media.
2004 Box of Treasures, a group exhibition at Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery, Vancouver, BC. November.
2005 Where the Spirit Gathers, a group exhibition at Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery, Vancouver, BC. November.
2006 Transcendence – a decade in perspective, Group exhibition at Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery. Vancouver, BC.
2007 Coastal Legacy, a group exhibition at Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery, Vancouver, B.C., November
2009 Haida Masterworks, Group exhibition at Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery. Vancouver, BC.
2013 Haida Masterworks II, Group exhibition at Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery. Vancouver, BC.
2017 Haida Masterworks III, Group exhibition at Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery. Vancouver, BC.
Works by this Artist (Present + Past + Public)
Price upon request
Bone, Abalone shell, Cedar bark, Woven Leather cord
Commonly used by a Shaman, soul catchers were used to cleanse human souls and spirits. If a person was sick, or perhaps possessed by a demon spirit, the soul catcher was used to coerce the evil spirit out of the body. The open ends were caped with cedar bark to hold the soul until it was cleansed and brought back from the spirit world. The healed soul of the recipient was then returned to the body by the Shaman by blowing through the soul catcher and into to the patient’s mouth.
The shape of the soul catcher is typically cut from animal bone in such a way that the ends are flared outward and the surface is carved with figures associated with the Shaman’s spirit guides. Spirit guides accompany the human spirit or soul on its transformative journey between worlds. The ends of the Soul Catcher were sealed to contain these spirits. They also protect the boundaries between the physical and spiritual world, keeping those involved in the healing ceremony safe from evil minded spirits and beings. The symmetrical arrangement of the figures essentially defines objects of this type and the figures tend to more sculptural in appearance.
Soul catchers are extremely powerful and respected healing instruments; because of this, they were often housed in special bentwood boxes to keep them safe.
Soul Catcher: 1.5 x 9.25 x 1.5″
Including Stand: 2.75 x 9.25 x 3″
Sterling Silver; Repousse, Engraved
Derek White’s extraordinary Beaver & Eagle Fish Bowl, created in the traditional Haida form and utilizing the ancient technique of repousse to add dimension, demonstrates his articulate master carving and artistry skills. Containers such as bowls were traditionally created out of Cedar or Alder wood and utilized in daily life. The chosen medium of silver serves as a contemporary progression of this ancient art form while illustrating the intricate foundational links which combine cultural heritage with the arts.
The artist’s Past Works at our Gallery have now sold; however, a custom order may be possible if the artist is available and accepting commissions.