Availability: Only 1 available
Sterling silver, Turquoise, Engraved
Only 1 available
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- Additional Information
- Artist Bio
Sterling silver, Turquoise, Engraved
|Dimensions||0.75 x 6 "|
David Neel has been creating art in the Kwakwaka’wakw style for over thirty years. His paintings, printmaking, carvings, and jewelry are all informed by his heritage, which includes several successful artists: Dave Neel Sr., his father; Ellen Neel, his grandmother; Mungo Martin, his great-great uncle; and Charlie James, his great-great-great grandfather. While many of his pieces are more contemporary in their material and design, Neel learned carving in the traditional style by his family and peers in his father’s village.
While Neel portrays meaningful stories and traditional values in all of his pieces, he says he finds jewelry the most impactful art form. He appreciates the fact that clients attach their own meaning to his jewelry and that it is used to mark important, personal events in people’s lives.
Neel has exhibited his work in many public institutions, including solo exhibitions at: the National Portrait Gallery of Canada; The Smithsonian Institution – NMAI; the Venice Biennale, and his work is represented in numerous public collections. His children are following in family legacy; studying art at the Emily Carr University and working with their father.
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Sterling silver, Abalone shell, Mastodon Ivory, Engraved
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Other works by this artist
Edition of 75
According to David Neel, Life on the 18th Hole was created to serve as a historical marker for an important event in Canadian history. This event, which came to be known as the Oka Crisis, shed light on many issues that had previously been swept under the rug. During the Oka Crisis, Life on the 18th Hole was commissioned by the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, who used the image as a poster to raise funds and spread awareness. Several copies of the poster were given to the Mohawk, and the press eventually caught wind of it as well. As a result, images of this serigraph were reproduced countless times throughout this period, making it one of David Neel’s most famous works.
In the summer of 1990, the small town of Oka drew both national and international attention during a tense 78-day stand-off between Mohawk Warriors, the Sûreté du Québec, and the Canadian military. The conflict arose due to the expansion of the near-by golf course, the plan for which had been approved by Oka’s mayor. This expansion was to occur on a stretch of disputed land, which encompassed a portion of the Mohawk’s ancestral territory and contained a traditional burial ground.
For decades prior to the stand-off at Oka, First Nations communities across Canada had been growing increasingly frustrated with the provincial and federal governments’ failure to recognize and honour Indigenous land rights. This failure was one of the many reasons for the brewing tensions between Indigenous Canadians and Canada’s governmental bodies. Thus, in many ways, the Oka Crisis was years in the making, and marks the moment when these long-standing tensions finally reached their boiling point.
Although land disputes are still a common occurrence in Canada, the Oka Crisis had important, lasting effects throughout the country. It played a crucial role in raising Canadian’s awareness of Indigenous issues, and led to the establishment of the Royal Commission of Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) in 1991. Since then, the RCAP has helped facilitate dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous parties, which has resulted in various agreements that previously wouldn’t have been possible. Additionally, the conflict inspired many First Nations movements in the years that followed, including the Idle No More protests in 2012 and the continuing demands for a federal inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Lastly, the Oka Crisis sparked a greater understanding and appreciation by the federal and provincial governments regarding the need to consult First Nations communities when potential development projects impact their traditional territory.
Life on the 18th Hole combines photographic and hand-rendered elements, with The Globe and Mail’s image of a Mohawk Warrior taking centre stage. The end result of this process is an impressive, hand-pulled silkscreen print that is loaded with symbolism.
“The Mohawk warrior symbolizes an individual pushed to his limit and having the will to stand his ground. The ‘10 little policemen,’ is turning around the nursery rhyme ‘1 little, 2 little, three little Indians,’ allowing the viewer to see the ethnocentric roots of this children’s nursery rhyme. The Circle is the circle of life, the arrows the four directions, four being the number of balance and completeness. The red dots represent the blood of man, one for each race; the red, the yellow, the black, and the white man. Jointly these remind us of the common bond of all men. The barriers between men and between races are erected, not inherent. Clearly it is up to individuals, not governments, to dismantle these barricades and work together to the benefit of all.” ~David Neel
Serigraph, Edition of 50
(For inquiries on custom framing, please contact the gallery)
David Neel’s Box of Daylight uses the modern printmaking technique of serigraphy to create a deeply symbolic rendition of Raven bringing light to the world. In this classic tale, Raven resolved to steal the Sun from an old man who had been keeping it all to himself in an old cedar box. To do so, Raven transformed himself into cedar sprig, and fell into the water of the old man’s daughter. Shortly after drinking this water, the daughter gave birth to a baby boy, who the old man spoiled greatly. Eventually, this little boy convinced his grandfather to let him play with the old cedar box, which he took outside with him. The boy immediately transformed back into the Raven and stole the box away. However, as he was flying, a strong gust of wind blew the cedar box from his mouth, releasing the Sun into the sky. Here the Sun stayed, lighting the earth from that day on.
In this piece, David strives to capture the deeper nature of this ancient tale. As such, Box of Daylight depicts Raven releasing not the Sun, but the Seed of Life, from Sacred Geometry. David’s use of the Seed of Life, which has a profound spiritual significance, highlights the true meaning of the legend. The story of the Raven bringing light to the world, at its most fundamental level, is a metaphor for the creation of the universe. Thus, Box of Light, encoded with this age-old knowledge, offers a glimpse into an ancient world.
“There is a wealth of information in traditional Indigenous tales, which are part of a long-standing oral tradition… While the delivery of the age-old stories may change, the essence of the tradition remains the same.” ~David Neel