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Walnut wood, Abalone shell
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- Additional Information
- Artist Bio
Walnut wood, Abalone shell
|Dimensions||2 x 2 x 1"|
|Nation||Coast Salish (Squamish) Nation|
Coast Salish (Squamish) Nation
(1970 – 2018)
Tom Eneas’ talents were such that he received much praise from his peers and elders; he carved with an expertise seldom seen in an artist of his youthful age. Evident in the linear flow which graces his work, this artist shared an in-depth comprehension and an intimacy with each medium he worked with.
Born in Penticton, British Columbia in 1970, Tom moved to Vancouver in 1989, where he lived with his mother Verna Baker, of the Squamish nation. It was under her guidance that Tom began to explore his heritage. He maintained that it is through the continued support he received from his family that he was able to explore his art and culture at a depth, which furthered his inspiration.
In 1991, at the age of twenty-one, Tom began studying the techniques to create the forms and lines traditional to Northwest Coast art and he began an exploration of the meaning behind the art. Tom’s studies culminated three years later when he carved his first two-dimensional piece and his first mask which was then used in a ceremonial dance. Tom furthered his artistic training by apprenticing with Kevin Cranmer, a Kwakwaka’wakw artist who himself stems from the esteemed Cranmer lineage.
As a tribute to his flourishing artistic career, Tom was bestowed with the honor of redesigning and painting the surface of the Esquimalt Longhouse. He strengthened his status when he collaborated with other First Nation’s artists in carving a totem pole, which is now housed in front of Vancouver Technical High School in Vancouver.
Tom Eneas set an artistic precedent, not only for the upcoming generations of First Nation artists, but also for his contemporaries. His cognizance of the roots of his culture only furthers his journey into this artistic realm. Eneas was on the cusp of being elevated to the stature of master carver, he was heading for a prosperous future.
Tom passed away peacefully in his home on June 15, 2018.
Selected Group Exhibitions:
2011 Coast Salish Masterworks: Connecting the Past to the Present, Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery, Vancouver, B.C.
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“For this series, the inspiration came from thinking about the eyespot markings on the wings of young skatefish; as such markings are credited with the beginning of the famous Pacific Northwest Coast (PNC) Ovoid. The original markings are solid black spots, encircled by a fine line.
I wanted to use the same circular format as a young skatefish’s markings as traditionally as can be, but with variations on each face. There’s a strong ‘pull’ that keeps an artist coming back to the more traditional, straightforward depictions of PNC faces. To those of us who grew up hunting, gathering and fishing, I think such a ‘pull’ is connected to that traditional upbringing; and that sort of familiarity makes us want to go back, just to remind us of our roots again.”
-Lyle Wilson, 2016