Gwaai Edenshaw (Hluugiitgaa) is an Eagle from the Ts’aalth clan. He was born in 1977 to Jenny Nelson, an author and teacher, and Guujaaw, a drummer, carver and former president of the Council for the Haida Nation.
Gwaai, as a baby, hung from a pole in Skidegate in his Jolly Jumper while his father carved. Since then, his experience in creating art has ranged from comic book drawing, to totem pole carving, to creating gold, silver and argillite jewelry.
The late Bill Reid began mentoring and training him in the traditional forms of Haida art when Gwaai was sixteen. At the age of nineteen, Gwaai worked on his first totem pole under his father, Guujaaw. It was a forty-footer, which now stands in Indonesia. Since then, he has worked on three additional poles with his father.
In 2002, Gwaai assisted Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas with his graphic novel, “A Tale of Two Shamans.” This experience nurtured a penchant for more experimental themes in Haida art.
As a graduate of Vancouver Community College, Gwaai studied Jewelry Art and Design. Casting was of particular interest to him and remains his preferred medium to this day. His works boast a refined and delicate design, complemented with Abalone shell embellishment. His miniature scale jewelry pieces are delicate and intricate, exemplifying his attention to detail.
In the last few years, Gwaai has branched out to film and co-directed on ‘Edge of the Knife’ – the first feature film to tell a story about the Haida people set in the 19th century and performed entirely in the Haida language. It premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival in September.
Gwaai is also one of the founding members of the Q’altsi’da Kaa players, who are currently engaged in their inaugural project, “Sounding Gambling Sticks,” a play to be performed entirely in the Haida language. He currently lives on Vancouver Island.
Works by this Artist (Present + Past + Public)
Sterling silver, Impressed
Weathered Finish & Polished
From Gwaai Edenshaw:
“Like fragmented artifacts or a keyhole peek at a larger design, this is the essence of the Regalia Line. From an idea conceived over a decade ago, through techniques fine-tuned over the last 5 years comes a new line by designer Gwaai Edenshaw.
Initiation is the inaugural collection by Regalia. These one-of-a-kind pieces merge Haida tradition with modern fashion for a distinct combination of quality and style.
The Initiation motif depicts four sides of a bent corner box representing variations of the Raven story.
Once embossed on sterling silver or gold sheets, specific images are carefully chosen for their aesthetic and narrative qualities. These are then shaped and polished by hand ensuring no two pieces will ever be alike.”
Sterling silver, Copper (Artist’s Signature Seal), Impressed
Part of Gwaai’s Regalia jewelry line, featuring handmade works that depict abstraction of the Haida form. The motifs impressed on each piece are borrowed from a dismantled a bentwood box design featuring variations of the Raven story. As an extension of this original concept, Gwaai has developed other themes such as reinterpreting Naxiin or Chilkat blanket weaving designs. After embossing on sterling silver or copper sheets, each specific design is carefully chosen for its aesthetic and narrative qualities. They are then shaped and polished by hand, ensuring no two pieces will ever be identical.
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.