Coast Salish / Nuu-chah-nulth Nations
Born in 1995, Joshua Watts was raised in Squamish, British Columbia. While he is both Nuu-chah-nulth and Coast Salish, he had little connection to his culture growing up.
In his youth, he was frequently taking part in canoe races, and it was then Joshua developed a passion for carving.
At the age of eighteen, Joshua began an apprenticeship with Salish artist Ray Natraoro. Under his guidance, he learned how to build canoes and then artistic sculptures such as totem poles and masks. It was during this apprenticeship that Joshua truly began participating in Salish culture and learning the traditions and teachings of his ancestors, which have had a significant influence on his lifestyle choices. Today, Joshua always acknowledges his Indigenous roots foremost, understanding the importance of his cultural lineage.
Since reconnecting with his heritage, Joshua has become a strong advocate for cultural revitalization amongst Indigenous youth, dedicating much of his practice towards youth development and mentorship programs. He is currently focused on leading research towards cultural revitalization, facilitating land-based learning initiatives, and uniting First Nations communities through art and culture. He is also continually discovering the beauty of his ancestry through the art of his people.
Joshua Watts is a recent two-time recipient of the YVR Art Foundation’s Emerging Artist Award. He has also received their Frank O’Neill Award in recognition of his ongoing contributions to cultural revitalization in First Nations communities. In just a few short years, Joshua has firmly established himself as an influential artist and cultural leader with a bright future.