Coast Salish (Tsawout) Nation
Tom LaFortune is a member of the Tsawout First Nation whose ancestral connections reside in the southern part of what is now known as Vancouver Island. Tom completed his first carving when he was just 11 years old, and has advanced to carving masks, rattles, paddles, dishes, talking sticks, single figures and totem poles. He has also made and painted drums. Tom’s work is often distinguished by its stylistic fluidity and refined use of color.
Tom LaFortune’s works can be found in collections worldwide; most notably his totem poles. These include Harvest Time and Owl Spirit poles completed for Duncan’s City of Totem project, a commission by CBC which was featured on television coverage of the 1994 Commonwealth Games, a single owl figure overlooking the Ross Fountain at the world famous Butchart Gardens in Victoria, S’ael, a twenty-five foot pole completed as part of Royal Roads University’s 75 years of changing lives celebrations, and a Salish arch for the Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site.
Tom lives with his partner, Doreen, in the Victoria area, close to his two sons and daughter and a large extended family.