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Argillite, Catlinite, Abalone shell
Shamans, or Medicine Men & Women, were typically a chief of the village or a person of high-ranking stature who followed the directions given by their spirit helper.
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- Artist Bio
Argillite, Catlinite, 14K Gold, Abalone shell
|Dimensions||11.75 x 5.5 x 5.5"|
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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Yellow Cedar wood, Red Cedar wood, Glass, Etched, Sandblasted, LED Illumination, Acrylic paint
“This piece is a representation of the Moon which is [an] ancestral part of our mythology. Moon is said to have been the great leader who changed great things in his time among our people. Being half human and half sky being, he was part of the people. This depiction in particular, shows the Salmon numbered in five, which also denotes the number used in defining Puyallup stories as these are shared through the Puget Sound.” – Shaun Peterson
The artist has mixed conventional Northwest Coast materials with modern media to create this moon panel, Keeper of the Tide.
The central figure represents the face of the moon. In Northwest Coast culture, the Moon is regarded as a symbol of protection and guardianship. The Moon is often associated with transformation.
Using sandblasted glass, Shaun has incorporated swimming salmon circling the Moon’s face. Salmon are honoured and celebrated by all coastal peoples: the fish serves as a powerful symbol of regeneration, self-sacrifice, and perseverance. Shortages of salmon are traditioally attributed to human disrespect and refusal to listen to and live by the wisdom of elders.
Sterling Silver; Repousse, Engraved
Derek White’s extraordinary Beaver & Eagle Fish Bowl, created in the traditional Haida form and utilizing the ancient technique of repousse to add dimension, demonstrates his articulate master carving and artistry skills. Containers such as bowls were traditionally created out of Cedar or Alder wood and utilized in daily life. The chosen medium of silver serves as a contemporary progression of this ancient art form while illustrating the intricate foundational links which combine cultural heritage with the arts.
Other works by this artist
Argillite, Catlinite, Abalone shell, 14K Yellow Gold
Volcano Woman is perhaps one of the oldest and most revered legends which tells of a mortal’s fate if he/she does not treat sacred objects or creatures with respect. In defense of her beloved wild creatures, she controls the powerful volcanoes. This story tells of how the killing of a frog leads the Volcano woman to destroy an entire Haida village.