Availability: Only 1 available
Red Cedar wood
38 x 26 x 2.5″
Only 1 available
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- Additional Information
- Artist Bio
Red Cedar wood
38 x 26 x 2.5″
Ben Davidson is the son of internationally renowned artist Robert Davidson. He specializes in three-dimensional artwork, such as forton casting and wood carving, although he has been expanding his practice to incorporate different mediums including jewelry and serigraphy.
At the age of sixteen Ben began carving in wood and later apprenticed with his father. He has also worked with well-known master carvers such as his uncle Reg Davidson and John Livingston.
Ben’s artworks can be seen in many of the top galleries in Vancouver. A recent piece of his was featured in the exhibition Raven Travelling: Two Centuries of Haida Art at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2006.
Ben is an accomplished dancer and is an integral member of the Rainbow Creek Dancers. One of his key initiatives is to be an active participant in the Haida community through the mentoring of young artists and his constant exploration of the connection between his art form and ceremonial practice.
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Sterling Silver, Argillite, Abalone shell, Mastodon Ivory, Repousse, Engraved
This piece opens to reveal an inner box with relief engraving that echos the outer lid.
Traditionally, boxes were considered prized possessions and customarily used to store wealth or special ceremonial objects such as masks, rattles, clothing and adornments. People often gave names to these beautiful ornate boxes, told stories about their histories and treated them as family heirlooms. However, non-decorated boxes acted as instruments of life – from storing less precious articles, to food and later used for mortuary purposes. In Haida mythology, a stack of boxes contained the essence from which Raven created the world.
Eagle, Dogfish, Beaver and Frog Box retains its traditional elements through conception and imagery. Derek exhibits his mastery in his precision of line and perfect symmetry of the formline of this treasure. The gently angled lid with Abalone inlay, as well as the engraved and incised elements on the box is suggestive of the prototypic bent cornered wooden boxes and chests.
The box contains not only depictions of four important crest animals, but connects to past traditions in which a box held more than the material object, it also linked people to their heritage, lineage and each other.
Price upon request
Argillite, Abalone shell, Mother of Pearl, Catlanite
This ornately detailed panel pipe inlayed with catlanite, abalone shell and mother of pearl tells the ancient story of Nanasimgit.
The man or Nanasimgit is depicted at the bottom of the pipe holding skils to represent his stature. It shows the numerous potlatches he has held. The following story is a shortened version as told by the artist, Christian White:
One day, the man’s wife was washing sea otter skins near the ocean, when a Killerwhale arose from the surface. It coaxed her into the water and carried her seaward while her husband watched in disbelief. Without hesitation, he quickly decided to follow them until the Killerwhale dove near a two-headed kelp, which prevented him from going any further. He was feeling quite distraught as he returned back to the village but by then he had decided to seek the help of his uncle, the Frog.
The Frog offered him advice on how he could get his wife back and suggested that he take specific objects with him for his journey. He brought spruce root twine, a gimlet and medicine, placing them in his canoe. But, before he embarked on his journey, he was urged to undergo a fast in order to cleanse his body, which involved various rituals.
Once the fast was completed, the man embarked on his quest until he came across the kelp he had encountered before. He tied his canoe to the kelp along with his possessions and climbed down beneath the surface to find himself in another world. He followed a path where he encountered three blind women that resembled Geese. He used his medicine to cure two of the women while the third one chose not to accept the medicine. The cured women vowed to repay him for his deed. As he proceeded onward, the man came across two slaves, from the Killerwhale clan, chopping wood. As they proceeded to chop the wood, the head of their axe fell off and they began to cry knowing the consequences they would face from the Chief. The man stopped to assist them and in return they directed him to his wife’s dwelling. The slaves warned the man of the watchmen pole that stood in front of the longhouse protecting the inhabitants. The watchmen had the ability to scent out and watch out for intruders.
While he proceeded further on his path and thought about how to divert the watchmen, the man encountered a Heron repairing a canoe without success. The man stopped to offer him his gimlet to successfully repair the canoe. In return for his generosity, the Heron helped conceal the man under his wing blanket from the Black Whale guards and the watchmen. He successfully entered the longhouse to happily find his wife. At this point, the watchmen discovered the man taking his wife back with him, but were unable to stop him.
When the man arrived back with his wife to his village he felt a different connection with her, as though she was not herself. At night, he would keep her in a bentwood box, but one morning when he awoke, to his surprise she escaped. She left to be with her Killerwhale family and fully transformed into a Killerwhale. This was the last he saw of her.
Other works by this artist
Serigraph, Edition of 150
“In this second rendition of ‘Just About,’ Raven has almost fully transformed into the way we know him today. As he continues his escape from the smoke hole, he clasps the sun in his beak – he is determined to bring light back to the world, and thus free us from that which imprisons us. The red represents the strength he needs to complete this journey.’”
– Ben Davidson, 2018
Serigraph, Edition of 21
“My father’s understanding of Greatest Echo, is that this supernatural being has the ability to echo the past and bring it into the future. We dance the Greatest Echo masks to remind ourselves of our responsibility to learn the knowledge of the previous generations and to make that knowledge meaningful in our daily lives.
Yellow is echoed in each of these [designs]. It represents the knowledge of our ancestors. Our knowledge was strong before contact. It was passed from generation to generation without threat. Attempts to assimilate us and erase our identities through colonization resulted in our knowledge being muted; this was a dark period in our history. However, despite this, we continued to pass on our knowledge to our children.
Today, our connection to this ancient knowledge is emerging once again. We must continue to move forward, but, as my tsinii told my father, ‘You have to look back once and a while to see where you came from, so you can always find your way back.’”
– Ben Davidson, 2018
Serigraph, Edition of 77
28.75 x 19.25″
Ben Davidson’s Tide Walker is a remarkably expressive serigraph by one of the Northwest Coast’s foremost artists. The blend of traditional and contemporary formlines, as well as the use of rich and saturated colour, joins to create an aesthetic that is distinctly a Ben Davidson work.
Below are the artist’s own words regarding this piece:
“Tide Walker exists in the space between the land and the ocean. From afar, he appears as a dorsal fin, so we imagine his body beneath the waves. We are so desperate to be the first to see the killer whale that we allow our minds to complete his story before we have time to determine the truth. We are so swiftly lured into believing the surface story that we rarely take time to consider what lies beneath.” (Davidson, 2017).
Ben Davidson is an internationally renowned contemporary First Nations artist. He is the son of Robert Davidson, also of international fame. Ben stays true to his Haida ancestry, while always pushing the boundaries of traditional artwork.