Coast Salish (Squamish) Nation
(1970 – 2018)
Tom Eneas’ talents were such that he received much praise from his peers and elders; he carved with an expertise seldom seen in an artist of his youthful age. Evident in the linear flow which graces his work, this artist shared an in-depth comprehension and an intimacy with each medium he worked with.
Born in Penticton, British Columbia in 1970, Tom moved to Vancouver in 1989, where he lived with his mother Verna Baker, of the Squamish nation. It was under her guidance that Tom began to explore his heritage. He maintained that it is through the continued support he received from his family that he was able to explore his art and culture at a depth, which furthered his inspiration.
In 1991, at the age of twenty-one, Tom began studying the techniques to create the forms and lines traditional to Northwest Coast art and he began an exploration of the meaning behind the art. Tom’s studies culminated three years later when he carved his first two-dimensional piece and his first mask which was then used in a ceremonial dance. Tom furthered his artistic training by apprenticing with Kevin Cranmer, a Kwakwaka’wakw artist who himself stems from the esteemed Cranmer lineage.
As a tribute to his flourishing artistic career, Tom was bestowed with the honor of redesigning and painting the surface of the Esquimalt Longhouse. He strengthened his status when he collaborated with other First Nation’s artists in carving a totem pole, which is now housed in front of Vancouver Technical High School in Vancouver.
Tom Eneas set an artistic precedent, not only for the upcoming generations of First Nation artists, but also for his contemporaries. His cognizance of the roots of his culture only furthers his journey into this artistic realm. Eneas was on the cusp of being elevated to the stature of master carver, he was heading for a prosperous future.
Tom passed away peacefully in his home on June 15, 2018.
Selected Group Exhibitions:
2011 Coast Salish Masterworks: Connecting the Past to the Present, Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery, Vancouver, B.C.
Works by this Artist (Present + Past + Public)
Price upon request
Red Cedar wood, Abalone shell, Copper
The Moon controls tidal changes and illuminates the dark sky. In many Nations the Raven is attributed for the gift of the Moon. Depending on the Nation, it is said that the Moon is the Sun’s partner, each being halves to a greater whole. Additionally, the Moon is associated with transformation and is regarded as an important protector and guardian spirit. Due to its mystical powers, Shamans sometimes call upon it as a spirit guide. Although not a common crest, it was exclusively the crest of a few highest-ranking Chiefs among the Haida nation and still remains their hereditary right today.
Tom Eneas’s Moon Amulet reflects the Moon’s highly regarded innate spiritual powers. Carved from the spiritually endowed Red Cedar tree, this Moon Amulet is instilled with the beautiful decorative Abalone Shell which appears as the Moon’s illumination. Abalone Shell traditionally often referenced a high-status woman. This traditional work illustrates the more lucid southern carving style, in which the humanized Moon face’s shallow softer carving illuminates the wood’s grain providing the piece with strength and harmony. Tom Eneas’s exquisite Moon Amulet encapsulates the Moon’s legendary spiritual grace.
The artist’s Past Works at our Gallery have now sold; however, commissions may be available – please inquire here (please note that not every artist accepts commissions).