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- Additional Information
- Artist Bio
|Dimensions||7 x 2.5 x 3.5"|
Gryn White’s aboriginal name Duugwi.is means “Strong Haida”, and he has descended from an impressive lineage of renowned artists. His great-great grandfather is Charles Edenshaw (1839-1920), a chief of thee StA’stas Eagle clan and who was considered the most influential Haida artist of his time. One of Charles’ granddaughters Lavine White, the daughter of Emily Edenshaw and Henry White had a son Greg Lightbown who is Gryn’s father.
Gryn is a part of the Raven clan and his crests include the Bear, Killerwhale and Shark (Dogfish).
His father was an argillite carver for over 40 years, but he credits his grandmother with the impetus to become an artist. At first, his parents tried to discourage him because the profession is unpredictable and it can be a struggle to follow in his elder’s footsteps.
Gryn pursued his passion and began to carve in his early teens by providing assistance to his father. When he completed school, he moved from Old Masset in the Queen Charlotte Islands to Vancouver to attend Langara Community College where he studied fine arts in design and art history.
Impressed with learning about contemporary art, he took this awareness of seeing and identifying negative space, balance, symmetry, shape, line and form back to the Haida design principles and applied it to the rules of formline design.
“I began to see the rules of Haida design as deeply rooted in our culture. It gave me the understanding of what Charles Edenshaw and Tom Price had achieved, and what Bill Reid has restored to Haida art. They became my teachers.”
“I want to create contemporary Haida art within these traditional boundaries. I’m not much interested in coming up with a new form of Haida art. I want to honour and feel continuity with the past.”
For now, Gryn is completely immersed in learning about the traditional formand exploring the tension between “old style” and original innovation with the intention of developing his own personal style. Still, he proudly acknowledges his strongest inspiration is his father and has always recognized that he wishes to be just like him.
Gryn continues to perfect his work and is continuously involved with ideas. He has filled many sketchbooks and credits the argillite stone with suggesting the form that it will take. As a perfectionist, he’s meticulous and precise, and he uses embellishments of prized Abalone shell, Catlanite and bone.
This is a meaningful art form for Gryn, one connects him to Haida Gwaii, his people and the land and animals of his island home.
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Argillite, Sterling silver
2.5 x 1.5 x 0.5″
Sterling silver Omero chain available separately.
According to the oral traditions of the Northwest Coast, there was once a man named Nanasimget whose beautiful wife was kidnapped by a Killerwhale. He took her to the underwater village of the powerful Killerwhale People, and planned to wed her as soon as he could create a dorsal fin and attach it to her back. However, Nanasimget was determined to rescue his beloved. He undertook a series of perilous tasks, going so far as to ride on the back of a mighty Killerwhale to reach the village in the depths of the sea. There, Nanasimget successfully extracted his wife from the Chief Killerwhale’s longhouse, rescuing his love and returning with her to their own earthly village.
This is a common myth amongst the Haida people but there are many versions of this legend base on the Nation which is telling the story. In some versions, Nanasimget is instead called Gunarh.
Argillite, Sterling silver
2.5 x 1.75 x 0.5″
Beavers are creative, artistic, determined, and industrious. Well known for their industriousness and building skills, they are a common inhabitant throughout the Northwest Coast region.
Argillite, Abalone shell, Mother of Pearl, Yew wood
The Dogfish is one of the most powerful crests associated with feminine qualities, and is considered to be part of the realm of supernatural beings. The Dogfish is always depicted with a high domed head and a down-turned mouth. It is often seen with sharp teeth and gill slits on each side of the mouth as well
Price upon request
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.
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Other works by this artist
The powerful, human-like Bear was referred to as ‘Elder Kinsmen’ and treated as a high-ranking guest when killed. As a close relation to mankind, Bear is considered to be the link between the human and non-human realms as well linking the secular natural with the supernatural or the divine. The Bear symbolizes courage, strength, authority and learned humility.