Edwin James Thomas Neel is a cultural producer/artist of Kwak’waka’wakw and Nuu-chah-nulth heritage, his younger years residing in Nong Prue, Thailand outside the historic fishing village of Pattaya.
He practiced from a young age and began studying at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2011. His works primarily are situated in the sculptural realm; carving both red and yellow cedar, and alder which are native to the Northwest coast, traditionally used since time immemorial.
Edwin was formally trained under his father, David Neel in the Kwak’waka'wakw formline and carving style, and later came to adapt and amalgamate Nuu-chah-nulth style and elements in his work.
In the process of researching and producing works contemporary and closely of historical context he has come to understand and appreciate the nuances of knowledge based systems, and their linguistics of both aboriginal and contemporary. His artwork further explores contrived notions concerning his traditional practice in relation to contemporary art and it’s insular quality in relation to cultures outside of itself.
Kulus Cedar Panel, 2015
The Kulus is said to be a younger thunderbird, it is not uncommon in some texts and stories that Kulus is to be a younger female thunderbird. The thunderbird is a prevalent crest from either my mothers and fathers families. The thunderbird is regarded as a mythological creature of supernatural stature, the stories in which Kulus’ feminine connotations situating it as such. The choice to portray a crest for a carver is always a significant decision, how one and their crest they’ve come from is presented. The regal and feminine nature of the Kulus are striking and which I aspire to portray to the utmost.
For more information about the Opening Doors Project please visit aboriginal.ecuad.ca/%EF%BB%BFdoor-panel-project-at-the-agp/ and aboriginal.ecuad.ca/opening-doors-exhibition/