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Governor General Visit

Visit to Opening Doors Exhibition

As part of their official visit to Vancouver Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston Governor attended the Aboriginal Gathering Place at Emily Carr University of Art + Design to view Opening Doors, a carving project that celebrates the story-telling traditions of B.C.’s aboriginal artists, on March 3.

“Sharon and I are looking forward to seeing the great work being done in Vancouver with regards to Aboriginal art and youth programs, in the high-tech sector and by community foundations,” said the Governor General in a press statement.

Their Excellencies visited Opening Doors, an Aboriginal door carving exhibition that showcases an innovative use of technology to support Aboriginal artists. They meet with the young Aboriginal artists who have successfully completed the four-week intensive door carving program.

The Opening Doors project is a unique educational carving project that embraces the culture and storytelling nature of British Colombia coastal Aboriginal art and, at the same time, explores new technology and promotes Aboriginal communities and their unique artistic talents.

The project was led at Emily Carr University by Brenda Crabtree, Director of the Aboriginal Gathering Place, who collaborated with three other partners including the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art, UBC’s Centre for Advanced Wood Processing and FP Innovations.

Read the Globe and Mail article.

Read the BC Business article.

Read the UBC article.
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William Callaghan

https://vimeo.com/137787872

William Callaghan expresses his interest in Tlingit style Northwest Coast art. Throughout his career as an artist William has been a part of carving projects consisting of masks (big and small), panels, Totem poles of various sizes, and an ocean going dugout canoe. He has worked within group projects as a student of the Northern Cultural Expressions Society Carving Program – formerly known as the Sundog Carving Program. As a student in the carving program William learned things from every teacher he had, which is included in his current art . William has taught carving to students in the Yukon with Elementary and Secondary Schools. Form-line designing, whether 3D or 2D, in various media William says he will be a part of Tlingit formline design and sculpture until his hands and eyes won’t let him anymore.

Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, BC is the art school William decided to expand his artistic abilities within. “I felt it was time for me to try other art mediums so I can include what I’ve learned into future projects. I want to add my little touch to the art world in more categories than one: Emily Carr is a school that has a lot to offer for this goal.” While attending ECUAD William has examined the different approaches to art the school has to offer; from design, drawing, sculpture, silkscreening, ceramics, but his main studio focus for the remainder of time at ECU towards his BFA will be painting.

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Edwin Neel

https://vimeo.com/137997319

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/

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James Harry

In some ways, this piece is inspired by my father Xwalaktun’s carvings and how the thunderbird and bear are relational to his work.  I created the thunderbird and bear as the centre of  my piece with an angled perspective, as if you are looking up at them. This piece is about my identity and how I have been affected by the people in my life and who I look up to.
Closer to the ground, the piece becomes more obscure and abstract; a spirit representation. These abstractions are influenced by my lifelong interest in formline and Coast Salish artwork, as well as observation of organic landscapes and ecosystems. Although we never had a written language I view carving these abstractions as if writing poetry; obscuring and abstracting visual language and ideas to alter and create a different meaning.

I spent most of my childhood and early adolescence learning First Nations form and design from my father, Xwalacktun, a master carver of the Squamish Nation. I developed my own techniques and artistic methodology after fully understanding the traditional foundation of his work. Materials I turn to are metal, red and yellow cedar, lighting, paint, fabrics and found objects to create installations, sculptures, paintings, and film.
 
I have been given the unique opportunity to approach my art from the different perspectives provided by my complex ethnic background: Euro-Canadian, Coast Salish and Kwakwaka‘wakw, ethically I am responsible for representing the intrinsic values of my First Nations culture. My goal is to continually challenge non-Native and Native definitions and assumptions of what is traditional, spiritual and environmentally ethical. Drawing influence from urban and rural, and by Native and non-Native cultures. I explore concepts of community and identity, reflecting in the study of cultural theory. Through the combination of familiar symbolism of West Coast form-line, modern media and techniques, my work pushes the boundaries of First Nations cultural traditions and the way the world functions around the confines of these understandings. I want to broaden the place held by Native art and culture in the world of contemporary art.

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Xwa Lack Tun

Xwa Lack Tun (Rick Harry), Squamish Nation. Xwa-lack-tun was born and raised in Squamish. His mother is originally from Squamish and Alert Bay (Coast Salish, Kwakiutl) while his father was Coast Salish (Squamish). Xwa-lack-tun was given his indigenous name by his father, Pekultn, who was a hereditary chief, originally from the Seymour Creek area. This artist gained his skills and education from Emily Carr College of Art and Capilano College, but also feels he learned a lot through trial and error.
Xwa-lack-tun is an artist whose works are recognized internationally. In 2005 he received an honorable award from the North Vancouver Arts Council, which acknowledged his contributions both locally and world-wide. Harry’s art focuses on how the traditional stories relate to his life, and how this knowledge can assist us all in healing ourselves. Respect for all people, regardless of race or religion, is a central theme for Xwa-lack-tun.

For more information about please visit his website at:
xwalacktun.ca

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Opening Doors: Cedar Door Project

https://vimeo.com/144395100
Emily Carr University of Art + Design,the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art, the University of British Columbia-Centre for Advanced Wood Processing and FP Innovations are working together to promote the artistry and design of traditional Northwest Coast art through a unique educational program that will deliver hand-carved western red and yellow cedar doors. We aim to celebrate the story-telling nature of traditional BC Aboriginal art while also promoting coastal communities and their unique talents.
Carving instructor Xwalacktun mentored 5 participants at the Aboriginal Gathering Place at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

James Harry: Coast Salish & Kwakwaka’wakw
Edwin Neel: Kwagu’ł & Ahousaht
William Callaghan: Tlingit
Lyle Mack: Nuxalk
Chazz Mack: Nuxalk

Carving instructor Ken McNeil, mentored 5 participants at the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art.
Arlene Ness:Gitsxan
Latham Mack :Nuxalk
Jared Kane :Tlingit
Stan Bevan :Tahltan/Tlingit/Tsimshian
Dean Heron:Kaska/Tlingit

Invited qualified Aboriginal artists from B.C. communities applied for this unique educational program that provided participants with free training/mentorship with an advanced carver. The participants own the completed cedar door panels and retain complete intellectual property on their designs. In return, they agree to have their completed panels displayed at selected venues and exhibited at the Yaletown Roundhouse in October 2015.
From our established partnership with a door manufacturer, and with the consent of the artists, selected doors may become part of a high-end line offered by the door company, including limited edition reproduction doors produced digitally with a CNC machine. We believe that the final doors will provide a creative product that is unique in design and attract consumers that appeal to a story.
There was an exhibition of the door panels titled “Opening Doors” in October 2015 at the Yaletown Roundhouse. The exhibition included a panel presentation and a gala opening event on October 6th, 2015.

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Opening Doors Exhibition

Opening Doors At the Roundhouse Community Centre
October 5-10th, 2015
Panel Discussion October 7th, 5:30-7:00 pm
Opening Doors Project
IMG_6118FPInnovations, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Aboriginal Art (NWCC), are collaborating on a unique educational carving project that embraces the culture and story-telling nature of BC coastal Aboriginal art and, at the same time, explores new technology and promotes Aboriginal communities and their unique artistic talents.
The Opening Doors Project, a 4-week intensive program for Aboriginal artists, was held at Emily Carr University of Art + Design Aboriginal Gathering Place in Vancouver and Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Aboriginal Art in Terrace. The participants, representing 10 Aboriginal BC/Yukon communities, had different levels of carving experience and were offered instruction and mentorship including tool use, form line and design, scale drawn design, and finishing techniques from senior Aboriginal carvers.
The project focused on carving panels from BC coastal red and yellow cedar harvested primarily from Aboriginal lands. The panels were designed to be set in custom door frames.
A key component of the project was that participants
were offered the opportunity to explore new ways of
working by producing a limited edition of the panels through the use of computer numerical control (CNC) technology. The carved originals and the CNC limited editions will be offered for sale domestically and internationally for high-end housing and commercial buildings.
The project outcomes include skill development, exploration of new technology, sales of Aboriginal art and design, manufacturer partnerships, and targeting of possible new markets.
The red and yellow cedar was harvested by the Nuxalk Smayusta First Nation and Teal Cedar Products; the doors were produced by Mountainview Fine Wood Windows and Doors; and the CNC technology provided by the Centre for Advanced Wood Processing (CAWP) at UBC.
Project managers:
Dr Chris Gaston, FPInnovations/UBC chris.gaston@ubc.ca

Brenda Crabtree, Emily Carr University of Art and Design. bcrab@ecuad.ca

Features the work of Emily Carr grads Xwalaktun (Rick Harry) and James Harry, and current Emily Carr students William Callaghan and Edwin Neel.

 

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Door Panel Project at the AGP

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The University of British Columbia-Centre for Advanced Wood Processing, FP Innovations, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Aboriginal promote the artistry and design of traditional Northwest Coast art through a unique educational program that will deliver hand-carved western red and yellow cedar doors. We aim to celebrate the story-telling nature of traditional BC Aboriginal art while also promoting coastal communities and their unique talents. Carving instructor Xwalacktun mentored 5 participants in the Emily Carr Aboriginal Gathering Place
James Harry: Coast Salish & Kwakwaka’wakw;
Edwin Neel: Kwagu’ł & Ahousaht
William Callaghan: Tlingit
Lyle Mack: Nuxalk
Chazz Mack: Nuxalk

The project ran for the month of June.
We invited qualified Aboriginal artists from B.C. communities to apply for this unique educational program that provided participants with free training/mentorship with an advanced carver. The participants own the completed cedar door panels and retain complete intellectual property on their designs. In return, they agree to have their completed panels displayed at selected venues and exhibited at the Yaletown Roundhouse in October 2015. From our established partnership with a door manufacturer, and with the consent of the artists, selected doors may become part of a high-end line offered by the door company, including limited edition reproduction doors produced digitally with a CNC machine. We believe that the final doors will provide a creative product that is unique in design and attract consumers that appeal to a story. There is an exhibition of the door panels titled “Opening Doors” in October 2015 at the Yaletown Roundhouse. The exhibition will also include a panel presentation and a gala opening event on October 6th.

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