Christian White was born on July 17, 1962 in Queen Charlotte, Haida Gwaii, B.C., and grew up in Masset. Christian’s predominant crests are Grizzly Bear, Dogfish, Raven Double-finned Killerwhale and Moon. Christian’s father, Morris White Chief Edenshaw was instrumental in teaching him the art of argillite carving at the age of fourteen. Christian belongs to a family of practicing artists and cultural preservers, his two brothers carve, his three sisters weaver cedar bark baskets and hats for cultural use, and his wife, Candice, is involved with elders and youths with regards to the preservation of language. In the past decade Morris and Christian White have been acknowledged as being large forces behind the revival of the art of canoe building and totem pole carving in Old Masset.
Carving since 1976, Christian’s mediums were wood, and whalebone, and has since successfully progressed to argillite. In more recent years argillite has become his primary medium, wood is a close second, often used specifically for cultural or ceremonial pieces. Christian had studied his cousins who had been carving in the late 60’s and who were, at that time, developing their own modern style. After researching the artwork of the 19th century Master’s along with the works of his cousin’s, Christian developed a personal style based on a narrative depiction of a specific moment within a myth or a story.
Christian hopes to influence the next generation of Haida artists, and has generally three apprentices on an ongoing basis. Several young people have come together in his community of Old Masset to form a traditional Haida song and dance group, “The Old Masset Dancers”. Christian believes performing the dances and singing the songs is a vital part of his culture and it makes him feel more complete as a person spiritually and physically.
2007 British Columbia Creative Achievement Award for First Nations’ Art