Isaac Tait

Northwest Coast Native Artist Isaac Tait from Nisga'a Nation

Nisga’a Nation

(1965 – 2000)

Isaac Tait was born August 17, 1965 in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, situated along the northern coast of the province. He was a member of the Nisga’a Nation and he takes the Frog and the Raven as his predominant family crest symbols.

In his early years, storytelling and the knowledge of his heritage were revealed to him by his elders. His father Norman Tait, a master carver, who was well versed in the traditions of his people, passed down the tradition of carving to Isaac, who embraced the craft intently. He began carving in wood and later progressed to metals, textiles, stone, and paper. Master carvers such as Bill Reid, Joe David, Beau Dick, and Robert Davidson RCA greatly influenced his capabilities as an artist and encouraged him to push himself to greater limits.

In 1998, Isaac moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico where he taught wood carving and flat design at the Institute of American Indian Arts. This was a program run by the First Nations and geared towards First Nations. Shortly after his teaching term was completed, he was involved in a one-man show at the Institute of American Art Museum was a focus on mixed media. This was the first show in the Southwest of the United States to focus on a Pacific Northwest Coast First Nation’s theme.

As a result of his participation with the Institute, Isaac’s reputation reached a new level. It established a stronger awareness of his artistic capabilities and versatility. Before passing away, Isaac’s experience level reflected traditional Nisga’a forms, stemming from his roots which many collectors have obtained an affinity towards.