Reuben Mack was born in 1994 in Vancouver, British Columbia, and grew up in Bella Coola. The Bella Coola Valley is one of seven Nuxalk reserves, which together cover 2,025 hectares of land, or 0.1% of Nuxalk ancestral territory. Of the 1,411 individuals that constitute the Nuxalk Nation today, approximately 893 currently live within these designated reserves.
Growing up, Reuben’s greatest influence was his father, an esteemed artisan named Alvin Mack. Carving is an art form that Reuben’s family has practiced for generations, and his desire for this tradition to continue led him to become a carver himself. From a very young age, he was beginning to learn how to carve, paint, and design in traditional Nuxalk art forms.
After living in Bella Coola for most of his childhood, Reuben moved to Terrace, British Columbia, in 2013. He was accepted into the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art, where he worked alongside instructors Dempsey Bob, Dean Heron, Stan Bevan, and Ken McNeil. During his time there, Reuben learned how to craft masks, bowls, spoons, paddles, and plaques. He grew into a devoted painter, sculptor, and design specialist. Once he completed his program, Reuben retuned to Bella Coola to study designs and techniques that were characteristic of both traditional and contemporary Nuxalk styles, as well as to sharpen his knowledge surrounding the rich history of the Bella Coola people.
While Reuben is still in the early stages of his career, he has already begun to make a name for himself in the Canadian art community. In 2013, Reuben’s work was exhibited in the Concourse Gallery at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. These exhibitions were accompanied by several art shows held at the Terrace Art Gallery throughout the years.
Reuben continuously pushes himself as an artist, with the goal of forcing himself further and further beyond his perceived limits. Ultimately, Reuben aspires to master the styles and techniques of his Nuxalk ancestors, and to pass their knowledge and their legacy on to future generations.
Works by this Artist (Present + Past + Public)
Yellow Cedar wood, Abalone shell, Acrylic paint, Otter fur
“Back then the Bella Coola believed that all animals possessed supernatural powers and abilities. One of them was the beaver. They believed that the beaver did not just carve with his teeth. But carved with crooked-handled adzes. The beaver was a prized possession by the nuxalk people.
I’ve seen the work of these beavers and the carving marks they leave on a tree resemble the same textures we use with our own carving tools. They seem to be very calculated beings and must put an enormous amount of time into the craft. Which reminds me as a woodcarver, maybe we’re not much different from these beings after all.” – Reuben Mack
CA$7,400.00Red Cedar wood, Acrylic paint
“This box resembles an adult bald eagle. Eagles aren’t hunted by any predators unless it’s another eagle, which makes them apex predators. Whenever an eagle deals with conflict from smaller game, they don’t seem to fall into [it]. Instead, they rise higher and higher until they are no longer reachable. Eagles are also key in the circle of life – [they often help to] relocate salmon into the forest floors, enriching the environment by [feeding it with] the richness of the salmon carcass and bringing nutrients to places where a salmon wouldn’t normally reach.
I’ve always wanted to fly like an eagle. Fly above all else, viewing everything with a higher perspective…the one who has the sharpest vision to see beyond any other living creature.”
– Reuben Mack, 2022
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.