Mathew Esquega was born in Beardmore, Ontario, on February 19th, 1957. He is both Ojibway and Cherokee, the former coming from his mother’s side and the latter coming from his father’s.
Mathew moved to British Columbia in 1978, where he met a number of artists who would become major influences in his life. He began carving a few years later, inspired by artists such as Patrick Amos, Joe Peters, and Beau Dick. Mathew even had the opportunity to assist Beau Dick and Wayne Alfred in carving the famous Ga’akstalas Totem Pole, which is located in Vancouver’s Stanley Park.
Over the years, Mathew has successfully developed a distinct style that honours Pacific Northwest Coast artistic traditions. Although he is descended from the Plains/Woodlands Indigenous peoples, he has worked and trained with several Northwest Coast Indigenous artists, ensuring that his artwork is an authentic example of the regional style. His work is primarily reminiscent of the Kwakwaka’wakw and Nuu-chah-nulth artistic traditions, demonstrating the lasting influence that his mentors have had on his growth and development as an artist.