Lloyd Wadhams Sr.

Northwest Coast Native Artist Lloyd Wadhams Sr. from Kwakwaka'wakw Nation

Kwakwaka’wakw Nation

(1938 – 1992)

Lloyd Wadhams Sr. was born in 1938 in Bones Bay, British Columbia, Canada near Guilford Island located off of the southern coast of the province. He grew up in Alert Bay which is a small fishing community close to his birth place.

He began making Northwest Coast native art at the tender age of nine. It was only natural that he began carving at such a young age since he was part of a large family with an extensive history of carvers as well as high ranking elders. He began carving red and yellow cedar wood then progressed to carving silver and gold jewelry.

Originally, he was taught to carve by Chief Henry Speck and one of his first major works was an 8 foot pole for Lieutenant Governor Frank Ross in 1957.  In 1967 to honour Canada’s centennial celebrations for the “Columbian” newspaper group, he carved four totem poles that were presented to the citizens of New Westminster, Burnaby, Coquitlam and Surrey.  In 1970, he began working in silver which became his medium of choice. His most famous commission came in the form of a chalice carved for Pope John Paul II’s visit to Ottawa, Ontario in 1984.

To this day, he is still renowned and highly regarded for his jewelry which embodied the traditional aspects of his nation, Kwagiulth. He was one of the few artists who portrayed depth and a traditional style in his jewelry. Lloyd also made original paintings and some prints, which are presently in many private collections.

Unfortunately, Lloyd passed away in 1992 due to health-related problems but his memory and work still live on in his son’s and daughter’s work.  Lloyd’s artistry affected many people in a positive way during his time, therefore, his memory will live in many private collections for future generations to see.