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Sterling silver, Cast
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- Additional Information
- Artist Bio
Sterling silver, Cast
|Dimensions||1.5 x 1.5" (3.81 x 3.81cm)|
Born in 1955, Lyle Wilson is a Haisla artist from Kitamaat Village, which is near the town site of Kitimat, British Columbia, Canada. The Haisla Nation is often referred to as Northern Kwakwaka’wakw; however, their historic artistic style has influences from various sources – notably Kwakwaka’wakw and Tsimshian, as well as developing distinctive qualities of their own. The name Kitamaat means, “People of the Snow” and refers to the large amount of snow received by this region. Tsimshian people visiting the Haisla people in mid-winter arrived to see people emerging from big houses completely buried by the snow so the name Kitamaat seemed an appropriate description.
The Haisla Clan system is matrilineal and although he was born into the Beaver Clan, Lyle was formally adopted into his father’s Eagle Clan. Due to the high death rates at this time, his Eagle grandmother formally adopted both Lyle and his sister to help ensure the continuation of the Eagle Clan. This was a small but important event, which helped shape Lyle’s view of Haisla culture.
Lyle was always conscious and appreciative of Haisla art, which was present in his formative years. In this regard, his first artistic influence was his uncle, Sam Robinson, who is a full-time carver. Fascinated, Lyle watched him and occasionally whittled to the best of this abilities. He did not pursue art as a possible profession until he attended the University of British Columbia. At this time, he committed to a career in art education, but found time spent in the studio more compelling – eventually leaving to pursue his own artistic interests at the Emily Carr College of Art and Design. He graduated with a diploma in printmaking and began to develop his individual style. This artistic style has its roots in graphics, but also envelopes his three-dimensional works in wood and jewelry.
Today, a renowned artist, Lyle works closely with University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology where he has further pursued his interest in replicating historic Haisla art for future generations to understand and visualize. Lyle has been involved with many important private and public commissions that have aided in the awareness of Haisla art.
Additionally, he has been involved in a number of group and solo exhibitions since 1981 both locally and abroad. Some of his public commissions can be viewed at the Museum of Anthropology, BC Sports Hall of Fame, Canadian Consulate in Osaka, Japan, Canadian Institute for the Blind, EXPO 1992 and at the UBC First Nations House of Learning.
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Other works by this artist
Sterling silver, Abalone shell, Repousse, Chased, Engraved, Textured
“Before commercial whaling decimated them, whales were more common all along the coast of what is now called British Columbia. Although the Haisla people never hunted them, apparently a few whales became stranded on the mud flats of the Kitimat River; I never heard whether those stranded whales were ever used for food.
Decades ago during fishing and hunting trips, I was fortunate enough to see two of these marine behemoths. Lately, sightings of whales are far more common so it’s safe to say they seem to be recovering in population. To witness these large whales up close and personal is something especially awesome and unforgettable! I have completed a few items using whales as the subject to commemorate my encounters as well as their recovery.
In this pendant, the Whale’s pectoral fins and tail are arranged so the face is partially hidden; reminiscent of a masked dancer.”
-Lyle Wilson, 2016
1976 Montreal Olympiad $5 Dollar Silver Coin, Deeply Sculpted, Engraved, Textured
“This pendant is an example of the traditional Pacific Northwest Coast formline style being adapted to show a relatively modern event. About 30 years ago, my uncle G’psgolox (Dan Paul Sr.) took me to visit some Tsimshian relatives at their fishing camp, which was located way out, and close to the open ocean. G’psgolox stayed in his bigger boat while a Tsimshian friend took me trolling in a small boat. Using a rod and reel, we hooked the biggest spring salmon that I’ve ever caught – over 40 pounds. The size of that salmon has remained in my mind ever since and so I memorialized that event in this silver coin.
The silver coin is thicker than standard silver stock, so it allows me to carve extra deep to give a sculptural look to the pendant. The pendant’s back is left as is to show its beginnings as a coin.”
-Lyle Wilson, 2016