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Coastal Legacy: from intricate to monumental 2007

Opened November 24, 2007

Coastal Legacy: from intricate to monumental will showcase First Nations art forms with an emphasis on intricacy, detail and innovation. Leading visionaries, such as Rick Adkins, Fred Davis and Christian White, alongside their contemporaries, Richard Hunt, Lyle Wilson and many other talented new generation artists will present their latest concepts and distinctive carving styles. Their exploration and vision of contemporary techniques illustrates the direction Northwest coast art is taking.

As a recipient of the 1st British Columbia Creative Achievement Award for Aboriginal Art, Christian White demonstrates for Coastal Legacy his exceptionally adept Argillite carving skills. At 22 years of age, his sculpture Raven Dance was purchased for the permanent collection of the Museum of Anthropology at UBC. Many emerging Haida artists have been influenced by Christian's style, including his cousin Darrell White, and his efforts have helped in establishing an apprenticeship program and the future direction for Haida and Northwest coast art.

The late Bill Reid mentored and trained Gwaai Edenshaw, one of the new generation artists who is contributing work to Coastal Legacy. His refined and delicate gold jewelry designs in miniature form are complemented with Abalone shell embellishments. Gwaai is a graduate of Vancouver Community College, where he studied Jewelry Art and Design.

Miniatures with extraordinary detail will be featured adjacent to works of larger scale and impact in this catalogued exhibition. Each artist creates with a vision in mind; one that placed emphasis on the stories that honour their ancestors and pays homage to building a lasting legacy.

To have the inherent ability to create significant work in an effort to continue in their ancestors' path is prevalent for many of the master and new generation atists who, through this art form, show respect for tradition and protect a shared vision.

Many of the featured artists capture the essence of their personal heritage in classic mediums, such as wood and stone, as well as other artisans who take the contemporary utilization of metal and mixed media to new heights. They all share a common element of respect for their roots, their land, and the changing environment that influences them.

Their unique usage of repousse and engraved Sterling silver inlaid with Argillite and Abalone clearly illustrates how Derek White is at the forefront of combining these diverse mediums, all encompassed in the traditional bent box format.

In an effort to broaden the perspective of their distinctive art forms, the artists envision the stories they tell from the blank medium. As many of the artists begin to explore the use of mixed media to reveal how contemporary influences shape their artistic ideas, their direction speaks loudly to the changing times.

Deeply immersed in their cultural traditions, the coastal nations of British Columbia take great pride in preserving these traditions to ensure that their vital legacy is protected and left for future generations.

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