Luke Parnell is an artist of Haida and Nisga’a heritage who, through the use of traditional techniques from the Northwest Coast, investigates contemporary social issues. Parnell also simultaneously acknowledges the historical implications of his method of working within his practice.
Traditional Northwest Coast art was centred on the convergence of intangible and material wealth: an individual’s rights and privileges and the objects that represented them. Parnell’s work continues to address ideas of rights, ownership, and privilege in the context of his own experience.
Parnell has been a professional artist for ten years. Having graduated from Emily Carr with distinction, Parnell is the recipient of the 2012 Winsor Gallery Graduate Student Award. He has exhibited work across Canada, recent exhibitions include: Transportation and Renewal at the Seymour Gallery in 2013, Vancouver; Re-contextualizing the De-consecrated at Winsor Gallery in 2014; and a feature at Winsor Gallery in 2015, entitled Concurrent. His work is included in notable collections such as the National Gallery of Canada, and private collection across Canada. Parnell is currently an instructor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Additionally, Parnell was a recipient of the 2016 BC Creative Achievement Awards for First Nations Art. An award that celebrates artistic excellence in both traditional and contemporary visual art.
URBAN ACCESS TO ABORIGINAL ART (URBAN ACCESS) began in 2014 and involved yearly four-week intensive art and design programs that blended studio instruction with cultural studies modules and field trips. Fifteen aboriginal participants were selected each summer to learn traditional forms of art: Carving, Drum Making, Cedar Basketry, Beadwork, Moose Hair Tufting, and Form Line design. The program included cultural studies, visual communication, guest artist talks, and field trips to galleries and museums.
Videos have been made of each of these traditional forms of art to share the knowledge and cultural backgrounds of these practices and the artists. Please visit aboriginal.ecuad.ca/urban-access/ for more information about this project.
The Urban Access Project was generously supported by the Vancouver Foundation, the Ministry of Advanced Education, the Aboriginal Arts Development Awards, the Canada Council for the Arts, The Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation, the Rona Foundation and the Emily Carr University of Art + Design. The project was managed by Brenda Crabtree, the Aboriginal Program Manager, at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design.