Books

ENRICH your MIND through our selection of best reads on Indigenous art and culture.

  • The Transforming Image: Painted Arts of Northwest Coast First Nations Second Edition

    McLennan & Duffek

    CA$65.00

    “An incredible archive of paintings by Northwest Coast artists, allowing the viewer to explore the creativity, energy, and depths these artists have achieved.” – Robert Davidson

    In the two decades since its initial publication, The Transforming Image has become a must-have book for scholars ad appreciators of Northwest Coast art, and, importantly, for First Nations artists, who have found inspiration in its wealth of images and ideas. A new edition of this groundbreaking volume makes its invaluable findings accessible once again.

    Its hundreds of photos of historical Indigenous artworks – objects and belongings now widely dispersed in collections around the world – are the extraordinary result of the Museum of Anthropology’s Image Recovery Project, which used infrared photography to reveal paintings on historical Northwest Coast objects whose surfaces are obscured by the patina of age. The project assembled images of nearly a thousand different paintings over its two-decade run, and worked with contemporary First Nations artists to reconstruct the compositions and understand their original context and significance, which the authors discuss in their insightful and engaging commentary. The rediscovered artworks radically deepened the understanding of Northwest Coast First Nations painting, including techniques, materials, imagery, and the creativity of generations of ancestor artists.

    A new preface by Karen Duffek speaks to what the book has helped set in motion, and how First Nations artists today are taking this art forward in new and compelling directions.

    Hardcover

    Published in 2022

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  • Where the Power Is: Indigenous Perspectives on Northwest Coast Art

    Karen Duffek, Bill McLennan, & Jordan Wilson

    CA$65.00

    In collaboration with the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia.

    Where the Power Is: Indigenous Perspectives on Northwest Coast Art is a landmark volume that brings together over eighty contemporary Indigenous knowledge holders with extraordinary works of historical Northwest Coast art, ranging from ancient stone tools to woven baskets to carved masks and poles to silver jewellery. First Nations Elders, artists, scholars, and other community members visited the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia to connect with these objects, learn from the hands of their ancestors, and share their thoughts and insights on how these belongings transcend the category of “art” or “artifact” to embody vital ways of knowing and being in the world. Texts by the authors sketch the provenance of the objects, and, in dialogue with the commentators, engage in critical and necessary conversations around the role of museums that hold such collections.

    The voices within are passionate, enlightening, challenging, and humorous. The commentators speak to their personal and family histories that these objects evoke, the connections between tangible and intangible culture, and how this “art” remains part of Northwest Coast Indigenous peoples’ ongoing relationships to their territories and political governance. Accompanied by over 300 contemporary and historical photographs, this is a vivid and powerful document of Indigenous experiences of reconnection, reclamation, and return.

    Hardcover

    Published in 2021

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  • Echoes of the Supernatural: The Graphic Art of Robert Davidson

    Gary Wyatt

    CA$60.00

    with Robert Davidson.

    In collaboration with the Vancouver Art Gallery. Forward by Karen Duffek.

    With over two hundred serigraphs and paintings, Echoes of the Supernatural: The Graphic Art of Robert Davidson is an exhilarating tour of a half-century of mastery and innovation of Haida formline by the most prominent Northwest Coast artist of his generation.

    Hardcover

    Published in 2022

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  • Experience British Columbia

    Steve Nash

    CA$60.00

    Presenting the most interesting and exceptional people and places of British Columbia, this photographic exploration offers an insider’s perspective on all the region has to offer. With a foreword by sports icon, philanthropist, and proud resident Steve Nash, this tour is divided into seven thematic chapters, each containing four geographical subchapters. From alluring Vancouver in the lower mainland to tranquil Vancouver Island, home to the historic capital, Victoria, the unique splendor of this remarkable area—including local art galleries, world-class ski resorts, restaurants and shops with international and regional flair, and businesses that give back to the community—is profiled alongside some of British Columbia’s best-kept secrets.  Includes 365 color pages

    Published in 2010

    Hardcover

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  • Susan Point: Coast Salish Artist

    Gary Wyatt

    CA$59.00

    This beautiful book marks the exciting emergence of Susan A. Point as a major artist on the Northwest Coast. Point’s striking and distinctive art in the Coast Salish tradition – from jewellery in precious metals to prints, paintings and monumental pieces in wood and glass – has won worldwide acclaim. Featuring 62 full-colour and 21 black and white images.

    Published in 2000

    Softcover

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  • Tsimshian Treasures: The Remarkable Journey of the Dundas Collection

    Donald Ellis

    CA$55.00

    A collection of 36 Tsimshian masterpieces from northern British Columbia, collected over 140 years ago.

    Edited by Donald Ellis, with essays by Steven Clay Brown, Bill Holm, Alan L. Hoover, Sarah Milroy, and William White.

    Tsimshian Treasures is an extraordinary collection of masterpieces from the Dundas collection that were acquired by Reverend Robert J. Dundas in October 1963 from Natives at Old Metlakatla. The images and essays in this book honour a remarkable moment in Canadian cultural history and the triumphant return of these masterworks of Northwest Coast art after more than a century in exile.

    Published in 2007

    Hardcover

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  • Native American Art

    Peter Bolz and Hans-Ulrich Sanner

    CA$55.00

    The Collections of the Ethnological Museum Berlin.

    The North American collection in the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin ranks among the most important in Europe. Different Native American cultures of the United States and Canada are represented here as well as the peoples of the Arctic.

    Published in 1999

    Softcover

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  • In the Spirit of the Ancestors: Contemporary Northwest Coast Art at the Burke Museum

    Robin K. Wright & Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse

    CA$52.50

    In the Spirit of the Ancestors celebrates the vitality of contemporary Pacific Northwest Coast art by showcasing a selection of objects from the Burke Museum’s collection of more than 2,400 late-twentieth- and early-twenty-first-century Native American works.

    Essays focus on contemporary art while exploring the important historical precedents on which so many artists rely for training and inspiration. Margaret Blackman reflects on building one of the largest collections of Northwest Coast serigraphs, and Joe David reminisces about his artistic journey through mask-making. Shaun Peterson, Lisa Telford, and Evelyn Vanderhoop discuss the historical precedents for working in styles that were kept alive only by a few critical artists and are now making a comeback. Robin K. Wright explores the history of box drums and their revival. Emily Moore discusses the repatriation of two stolen house posts and proposes a new concept of “propatriation” to describe the resulting commissioning of contemporary posts to take their place. Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse explores the power of adornment and how clothing, jewelry, and personal adornments like tattooing express tribal and personal identity in ways both connected to the past and grounded in the present.

    The diversity of approaches presented by these contributors speaks to artists, collectors, academics, tribal communities, and all those interested in Pacific Northwest Coast art. Splendid color photographs of works never before published will delight everyone.

    Soft cover

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  • First Peoples of Canada: Masterworks from the Canadian Museum of Civilization

    Jean-Luc Pilon & Nicholette Prince

    CA$52.00

    First Peoples of Canada offers readers a rare opportunity to experience a celebrated exhibition that has toured the world, yet has never been shown in Canada. This beautifully designed, full-colour book presents a collection of 150 archaeological and ethnographic objects produced by Canada’s First Peoples – including some that are roughly 12,000 years old – that represent spectacular expressions of creativity and ingenuity.

    Curators Jean-Luc Pilon and Nicholette Prince sought out pieces held by the Canadian Museum of Civilization that could be considered “masterworks” based on their aesthetic qualities, symbolic value, or the skills and raw materials used in manufacturing them. These unique and priceless artifacts embody the rich diversity of skills and materials used by Canadian Inuit, First Nations, and Métis in both ancient and modern times.

    First Peoples of Canada is full of insights not only on the pieces themselves but also on the cultures that produced them and the geography of this vast land. Readers will come away from this book with a renewed appreciation of the lifestyles and achievements of Canada’s original inhabitants.

    This collection focuses on items made by people in four regions across Canada: the farmers of the Great Lakes, the hunters, and warriors of the Great Plains, the wealthy Salmon People of coastal British Columbia, and the people of Canada’s harshest environments, the Arctic and Boreal Forest.

    Published in 2013

    Paperback

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  • People Among the People: The Public Art of Susan Point

    Robert D. Watt

    CA$50.00

    Susan Point’s unique artworks have been credited with almost single-handedly reviving the traditional Coast Salish art style. Once nearly lost to the effect of colonization, the crescents, wedges, and human and animal forms characteristic of traditional Coast Salish art can now been seen around the world – reinvigorated with modern materials and techniques – in her serigraphs and public art installations, as well as the works of a new generation of artists that she’s inspired.

    While the images and symbolism of Point’s work are often informed by surviving traditional Salish works and the Traditional Knowledge of her Musqueam family and Elders, she has developed a unique and contemporary style that continues to evolve.

    People Among People beautifully displays the breadth and depth of her public art, from cast bronze faces in Whistler to massive carved cedar portals in Stanley Park to moulded polymer murals in Seattle.

    Through interviews and archival access, Robert D. Watt gathers the story of each piece, often in Point’s own words, to illustrate the vital role she has played in revealing the re-establishing the “Salish footprint” in the Pacific Northwest.  An artist’s statement by Point and an essay by Dr. Michael Kew complete this portrait of a profoundly moving collection of artworks.

    Hardcover

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  • S’abadeb The Gifts: Pacific Coast Salish Art and Artists

    Barbara Brotherton

    CA$50.00

    Coast Salish oral traditions, history and artistry from prehistory to the present is captured in this visually stunning book.

    A principal at the heart of Salish culture is a reciprocal exchange of physical, spiritual and intangible gifts, including songs, spirit powers, titles, names, food, natural resources and artistic creations.  The term for “gifts” in Lushootseed, a Coast Salish dialect, is S’abadeb and this book illuminates the concept by exploring the intersection of art with ceremony, oral traditions, the land, and contemporary realities.

    Published in 2008

    Softcover

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  • Dempsey Bob: In His Own Voice

    Sarah Milroy

    CA$45.00

    “Dempsey Bob: In His Own Voice draws from extensive interviews with the artist, presenting the story of Bob’s life and career in his own words, including his family history, his memories of growing up in the 1950’s and 60’s in the cannery culture of British Columbia’s Skeena River, thoughts on his artistic development and influences, his travels to connect with artists and communities both domestic and international, his engagement in advocacy and activism, and his commitment to ensuring the continuity of tradition and innovation through his teaching. Taken as a whole, this publication reflects the changing face of Northern British Columbia from the 1950’s to today.

    Photographs of Bob’s artworks from key private and public collections across Canada and the United States are supplemented by spectacular images of the Skeena River region, combined with archival documentation from the artist’s family albums. The result is a vivid portrait of the creative process and a moving record of an adventurous life lived to the fullest.”

    Hardcover

    Published in 2022

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  • Totem Pole Carving: Bringing a Pole to Life [Second Edition]

    Vickie Jensen

    CA$45.00

    In 1985, photographer and writer Vickie Jensen spent three months with Nisga’a artist Norman Tait and his crew of young carvers as they transformed a raw cedar log into a forty-two-foot totem pole for the BC Native Education Centre. Having spent years recovering the traditional knowledge that informed his carving, Tait taught his crew to make their own tools, carve, and design regalia, and together they practiced traditional stories and songs for the pole-raising ceremony.

    Totem Pole Carving shares two equally rich stories: the step-by-step work of carving and the triumph of Tait teaching his crew the skills and traditions necessary to create a massive cultural artifact. Jensen captures the atmosphere of the carving shed — the conversations and problem-solving, the smell of fresh cedar chips, the adzes and chainsaws, the blistered hands, the tension-relieving humor, the ever-present awareness of tradition, and the joy of creation. Generously illustrated with more than 130 striking photographs, and originally published as Where the People Gather, this second edition features a new preface from Jensen and an updated, lifetime-spanning survey of Tait’s  major works.

    Published in 2020

    Softcover

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  • Eagle Transforming: The Art of Robert Davidson

    Ulli Steltzer & Robert Davidson

    CA$45.00

    Robert Davidson’s own words, combined with Ulli Steltzer’s photo documentation, give readers a rich visual survey of the inspirations and achievements of the artist.

    Published in 1994

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    Hardcover

  • Bill Reid and Beyond: Expanding on Modern Native Art

    Karen Dufffek and Charlotte Townsend-Gault

    CA$45.00

    Academically charged, this book offers a wide-ranging and thought-provoking collection of art and cultural scholars reappraisals regarding Bill Reid’s career and compelling artwork. Aware of political, economic and social events, this book examines and adds to the ongoing debate about aboriginality and modern art.

    Published in 2005

    Hardcover

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  • Northwest Coast Indian Art: An Analysis of Form

    Bill Holm

    CA$44.90

    An important contribution to the fields of art and anthropology, Holm’s work is a genuinely analytical study of the basic elements of form which characterizes a particular aboriginal art style.

    Published: 50th Anniversary Edition, 2015

    Softcover

    Bill Holm passed away on December 16, 2020 at the age of 95.

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  • Breathing Stone: Contemporary Haida Argillite Sculpture

    Carol Sheehan

    CA$42.00

    Working with a soft black stone known as Argillite, Haida sculptors over a period of two centuries have created a stunning body of work that is exceptional in its craftsmanship and beauty.

    Haida argillite sculpture constitutes one of the longest creative traditions in Canadian art. What is not always recognized is that this art form also serves as a rich portrayal of Haida history. Following the initial Euro-American contact, the Haida experienced devastating losses of population and the virtual disappearance of their culture. Argillite sculpture became almost the only means for the Haida to preserve their sense of who they were as a people. Their art became postcards to the universe explaining a heritage threatened with extinction.

    Now, a renaissance of Northwest Coast art is taking place. New artists, combining outstanding skill with an awareness of artistic developments on a global scale, are creating work of impressive quality and sophistication. Through their art, stories and fundamentals of an ancient Haida culture gain meaning and vitality for a contemporary audience.

    Published in 2008

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  • Becoming Tsimshian: The Social Life of Names

    Christopher F. Roth

    CA$39.95

    The Tsimshian people of coastal British Columbia use a system of hereditary name-titles in which names are treated as objects of inheritable wealth. Human agency and social status resides in names rather than in the individuals who hold these names, and the politics of succession associated with names and name-taking rituals have been, and continue to be, at the centre of Tsimshian life.

    Published in 2008
    Softcover

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  • The Magic Leaves: A History of Haida Argillite Carving

    Peter L. Macnair and Alan L. Hoover

    CA$39.95

    This book recounts the history of Haida argillite carving since it began in the early 1800s, and describes more than 200 examples from the extensive collection of the Royal British Columbia Museum.

    Argillite is a dense, black shale mined from a quarry on Haida Gwaii, reserved for the exclusive use of Haida carvers. Argillite works are unique in style and character, ranging from ceremonial pipes and model poles to elaborate platters and chests.

    Published in 2002

    Softcover

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  • Huupukanum Tupaat : Out of the Mist: Treasures of the Nuu Chah Nulth Chiefs

    Martha Black

    CA$39.95

    This visually sumptuous book features works of the historical and contemporary importance of Nuu Chah Nulth art and culture.  It illustrates and documents the traveling exhibition of the same name curated by the Royal British Columbia Museum.

    Huupukwanum and Tupaat are Nuu-chah-nulth words that designate everything a chief owns, including valued hereditary names and songs, objects and dances, rights and privileges, lands and resources.

    These Nuu-chah-nulth concepts introduce non-aboriginal people to the profound philosophical, spiritual and personal connections that these objects had – and continue to have – with Nuu-chah-nulth communities.

    Published in 1999

    Softcover

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  • Art of the Northwest Coast: Second Edition

    Aldona Jonaitis

    CA$38.95

    Art of the Northwest Coast is a superbly illustrated and informed overview of the Indigenous art of the Northwest Coast, covering the region from Puget Sound to Haida Gwaii to Alaska, and proceeding from prehistoric times to the present.

    By tracing the development of the art alongside historical events following contact with settlers, Jonaitis sheds light on the creativity of artists as they transformed foreign elements into uniquely Indigenous statements. A new chapter discusses contemporary artists, including Marianne Nicolson, Nicholas Galanin, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, and Sonny Assu, who addresses important themes ranging from Indigenous sovereignty and the power of Indigenous women, to the destruction of the environment and reconciliation efforts to heal the wounds of racism and discrimination.

    Aldona Jonaitis is the former Director of the University of Alaska Museum of the North and a professor of Anthropology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

    Published in 2021

    Softcover

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  • Unsettling Native Art Histories on the Northwest Coast

    Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse & Aldona Jonaitis

    CA$36.95

    Inseparable from its communities, Northwest Coast art functions aesthetically and performatively, from demonstrating kinship connections to manifesting spiritual power. By centering voices that uphold Indigenous priorities, integrating the expertise of Indigenous knowledge holders about their artistic heritage, and questioning current institutional practices, these essays “unsettle” Northwest Coast art studies. The volume exemplifies respectful and relational engagement with Indigenous art and advocates for more accountable scholarship and practices within the discipline of art history.

    Katherine Bunn-Marcuse is director of the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Native Art, curator of Northwest Native art at the Burke Museum, and associate professor of art history at the University of Washington.

    Aldona Jonaitis is the former Director of the University of Alaska Museum of the North and a professor of Anthropology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

    Published in 2020
    Softcover

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  • Sonny Assu: A Selective History

    Sonny Assu

    CA$34.95

    with Candice Hopkins, Marianne Nicholson, Richard Van Camp, and Ellyn Walker

    A stunning retrospective highlighting the playfulness, power, and subversive spirit of Northwest Coast Indigenous artist Sonny Assu.

    Through large-scale installation, sculpture, photography, printmaking, and painting, Sonny Assu merges the aesthetics of Indigenous iconography with a pop-art sensibility. This stunning retrospective spans over a decade of Assu’s career, highlighting more than 120 full-colour works, including several never-before-exhibited pieces.

    Through analytical essays and personal narratives, Richard Van Camp, Marianne Nicolson, Candice Hopkins, and Ellyn Walker provide brilliant commentary on Assu’s practice, its meaning in the context of contemporary art, and its wider significance in the struggle for Indigenous cultural and political autonomy. Exploring themes of Indigenous rights, consumerism, branding, humour, and the ways in which history informs contemporary ideas and identities, Sonny Assu: A Selective History is the first major full-scale book to pay tribute to this important, prolific, and vibrant figure in the Canadian contemporary art world.

     

    Softcover

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  • The Way Home: David Neel

    David Neel

    CA$32.95

    David Neel was an infant when his father, a traditional Kwakiutl artist, returned to the ancestors, triggering a series of events that would separate David from his homeland and its rich cultural traditions for twenty-five years. When he saw a potlatch mask carved by his great-great-grandfather in a museum in Fort Worth, Texas, the encounter inspired the young photographer to rekindle a childhood dream to follow in the footsteps of his father.

    Drawing on memories, legends, and his own art and portrait photography, David Neel recounts his struggle to reconnect with his culture after decades of separation and a childhood marred by trauma and abuse.  He returned to the Pacific Coast in 1987, where he apprenticed with master carvers from his father’s village. The art of his ancestors and the teaching of the people he met helped to make up for the last years and fueled his creativity.  His career as a multi-media artist also gave him the opportunity to meet and photograph leading artists, knowledgeable elders, and prominent people from around the world.  In time he was a recognized artists, with his artwork presented in more than forty solo and sixty group exhibitions.

    The Way Home is an uplifting tale that affirms the healing power of returning home.  It is also a testament to the strength of the human spirit to overcome great obstacles, and to the power and endurance of Indigenous culture and art.

    Softcover

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