Watch a two-day workshop on the ancient formline designs created by Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian artists of Southeast Alaska. Class taught by formline expert Steve Brown. Sponsored by Sealaska Heritage Institute.
Follow Northwest Coast Native Style artist Duane Pasco and his apprentice Randi Purser as they carve a raven house pole totem over the course of two months. Learn about the tools and process of this cultural and historic art form.
The JayHawk Institute is an open resource for exploring the past, present, and developing traditions of Pacific Northwest cultures. Learn more at jayhawkinstitute.org
David Gowland shows the totem pole he carved out of red cedar depicting a bear holding a salmon at the Kitchener-Waterloo Woodworking and Craft Centre. Gowland has had a fascination for west coast native culture since he was a child and has carved a variety of totem poles and masks over the years. He displays the totems in his Waterloo home garden, the design of which was also influenced by west coast flora.
Luke Parnell: Transformation and Renewal was exhibited at the Seymour Art Gallery, North Vancouver, BC, from July 30 – September 7, 2013. This video, filmed on August 11, features excerpts from the artist talk.
Working in the artistic traditions of his Nisga’a and Haida ancestors, Luke Parnell integrates his training in traditional Northwest Coast carving techniques, styles, and imagery, with the skills and knowledge learned from his Western mainstream university art education. Through the use of narrative and recognizable Northwest Coast iconography Parnell comments on complex issues such as repatriation of cultural remains, cultural identity, and the survival and transformation of native culture and its interface with non-aboriginal cultures. As he explains, “My methodology is to protect cultural knowledge but still create art that is not devoid of meaning. I’ve done that by showing that my work is part of a lineage and not a break from ‘tradition.’”
For his exhibition at the Seymour Art Gallery, guest-curated by Rachel Rosenfield Lafo, Parnell showed three works. Phantom Limbs, 2010, a major installation of 48 carved basswood figures in Plexiglas boxes arranged in a grid on the floor of the gallery, is a reference to the repatriation of Haida remains from the Museum of Natural History in New York City to their ancestral grounds on Haida Gwaii. Epistemological Conundrum, 2013, is a totem pole whose carved images question the value and relationship of traditional aboriginal versus Western educational systems. The newest work, a wall relief and mask that feature the trickster character Raven, is based on the imagery of a Haida mortuary pole and addresses the topic of how Western interpretations of Northwest Coast iconography and visual language have transformed its meaning.
Originally from Prince Rupert, BC, Parnell earned a BFA from the Ontario College of Art & Design and a Master of Applied Arts degree from Emily Carr University of Art and Design. His traditional training was a three-year apprenticeship with Master Tsimsian carver Henry Green. Parnell teaches at the college and university level and is currently teaching at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. His art was featured in the two-person exhibition, past now at the MacLaren Art Centre in Barrie, ON in 2010, and he has been included in many group exhibitions, including those at the Vancouver Opera (2013), the Harbourfront Centre, Toronto (2012), and Emily Carr University (2012). Parnell has been honoured with a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts (2013) and received the Winsor Gallery Graduate Student Award for 2012 at Emily Carr University.