June 21 marks a very important day in this country – National Indigenous Peoples Day, formerly known as National Aboriginal Day. National Indigenous Peoples Day (Journée nationale des peuples autochtones) is a day recognising and celebrating the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Indigenous peoples in Canada.
In Gastown, the artistic merits of local First Nations artists can be seen throughout the neighbourhood. Full of story, passion and colour, the works of art within our galleries and shops remain to be some of the best West Coast Native carvings, masks, paintings and jewelry available in Canada.
We are proud to house such beautiful pieces. Take a walk around the neighbourhood, spending some quiet time with the art. Think upon the work, allowing it to speak to you, whispering secrets, journeying you to a place beyond and in the words of Chief Dan George:
Jane started carving under mentorship of Simon Charlie in 1984, and worked on art projects with Simon until April 2005. Totem poles, ceremonial rattles, dolls, talking sticks, dancing sticks, paddles, and ceremonial masks have become Jane’s specialities. Although her main medium is wood, she has also become proficient in watercolour, doing scenes with symbols that depict her native culture. Her inspiration comes from old Salish Art and nature. She believes that we need traditional symbols but we must dream new dreams and invent new art that speaks to us in our present day.
Born in 1976, Jay’s heritage is a blend of two very different backgrounds; plains and northwest coast First Nations. He is Blackfoot on his mother’s side and Haida on his father’s from a small village named Kiusta. Located along the northwestern tip of the Queen Charlotte Islands, north of Old Masset, it is considered to be an ancient totem pole sanctuary. Jay’s prominent family crests include the Eagle, Killerwhale, Cormorant, Frog, Beaver, Flicker and Raven. He has a strong connection to both sides of his roots, however, has begun to pursue more of his Haida heritage by way of his artwork.
At the tender age of fourteen Jay began to pursue designing under the guidance of Sharon Hitchcock, a Haida artist who is his first cousin. He progressed rapidly as an artist and has become a proficient designer interested in exploring various mediums. One of these mediums is argillite, a slate inherent to the Haida culture. His abilities clearly extend beyond his years and he is well on his way to achieving his goals of becoming one of the leading artists of the 21st century.
Since 1979, The Inuit Gallery of Vancouver has offered a museum-quality collection of masterwork Inuit and Northwest Coast art in the heart of Gastown. The gallery features new work by established artists along with highlighting the work created by next generation emerging artists. Their Inuit collection includes Inuit Sculpture, Cape Dorset Drawings, Cape Dorset Prints, Inuit Drawings. Inuit Prints, work by Kenojuak Ashevak and Wall Hangings. Their Northwest Coast art collection includes Northwest Coast Sculpture, Northwest Coast Graphics and Coast Salish Art by John Marston and Luke Marston. Current exhibition: Vintage Inuit 2018 – a collection of vintage art works by Inuit artists from communities across the Arctic.
An important young artist in the burgeoning renaissance of Coast Salish art, John Marston uses his exceptional carving talent to revitalize and advance the traditional formline technique. John employs a “shifting formline” technique, in which the intersection of lines is accentuated by the use of three-dimensional space. Subtly creative, he works within the traditional style while constantly exploring new styles and techniques.
The son of artists Jane and David Marston, John started carving at the age of eight. While some of his pieces represent personal experiences and human emotion, others are the result of John’s extensive research into old Coast Salish art and traditions.
John’s carvings have increasingly been shown in museums across North America. Most recently his large free standing panel, called’ehhwe’p syuth (To Share History), has been placed at the entrance to the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver. His work can also be found on display at the Vancouver International Airport and the new Vancouver Convention Center.
Artist John Marston
Yellow cedar, abalone and wax finish rattle
A talented young artist with a flare for the bold and dramatic, Luke Marston combines a deep knowledge of Coast Salish artistic tradition with a unique personal vision. Inspired early in his career by his parents, carvers Jane and David Marston, Luke worked first with Simon Charlie and later Wayne Young. Luke carved at the Thunderbird Park at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria for five years alongside Jonathan Henderson, Sean Whonnock , Sean Karpes and later Gary Peterson and his brother John Marston. Relentlessly working to broaden his horizons, he has explored stone carving, painting, jewelry and printmaking, however the majority of Luke’s work is created in wood. Luke is at the forefront of the revitalization of Coast Salish art. His carvings show a reverence for history and tradition, while expressing optimism that the Salish art form can continue to develop and evolve.
Artist Luke Marston
Red Cedar, Abalone, Operculum
Since 2014, Silver Gallery has made Gastown one of the formost locations in Vancouver for quality silver jewelry, and in particular Native carved and designed pieces. There are over 10,000 pieces of jewelry and artworks from over 50 artists in the collection. The boutique sepecializes in custom jewelry, working closely with client and local Native artists to craft one of a kind pieces to commemorate engagements, weddings, graduations, birthdays and many other occasions.
Francis was born into the musqamakw Dzawadaenutw Band (the four tribes of Kingcome Inlet). She is a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation. Most of her work contains images of Kawadelekala (the supernatural wolf who became the first ancestor of the Kingcome people), acknowledging her contemporary ties to her cultural past. Francis relies on hereditary knowledge for her strength and inspiration. Francis’ work has been exhibited in various art galleries and museums. It has been included in a permanent exhibit in the Museum Fur VolkerKunde in Berlin. Her work was featured in two exhibits at the Ancestral Journey Gallery in Victoria, B.C. Although Francis’ primary forms of artistic expression have been through her paintings, prints, and songs, she also designs and carves with gold and silver, and does some work with wood.
Thunderbird Brooch / Pendant
Material: 14K Yellow Gold / Sterling Silver
by Francis Dick
Born in 1964 into the Hy’emass of Laxkw’alaams of the Gitgeese tribe, Tsimshian Indian Nation. Her carving talent at an early age showed her as an artist with a unique vision. In 1990, her brother Bill Helin introduced Leanne to the art of hand engraving and she began her career as native jewellery carver. As an artist in the Tsimshian tradition her work displays an extraordinary skill in its deep carving and a very rare combination of abstraction and delicacy. The Tsimshian legends come alive in all aspects of Leanne’s designed jewellery.
Killer Whale Bracelet
Material: Sterling Silver
by Leanne Helin
Artina’s is a jewelry lovers dream come true. The selection is extensive, particularly in West Coast native pieces including bracelet, necklaces, rings, pendents, earrings and brooches. There is also a nice variety of men’s jewelry, an area often lacking in many other jewelry shops.
Corrine Hunt was born in 1959, in Alert Bay on Cormorant Island near the North-eastern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. She has lived in Vancouver since 1975, where she attended Simon Fraser University and majored in Anthropology.
Her maternal uncle, Norman Brotchie, piqued her interest with his beautiful hand carved jewellery and was instrumental in introducing her to the Kwakwaka’waka art history. Corrine has been designing jewellery as a master carver since 1985, and was awarded the National Aboriginal Achievement award in 2011. In 2010 Corrine had the distinct honour of co-designing the Olympic Medals which featured the Orca and Raven, her crest animals.
She is a member of the Raven ‘Gwa’wina’ Clan from Ts’akis, a Kwakwaka’waka village on Vancouver Island. Her paternal grandmother, A’neesla’ga’ was a Tlingit noblewoman from Alaska. The Hunt family heritage has been doubly endowed with both the Kwakwaka’waka and Tlingit traditions as evident in Corrine’s exceptional creations. She works and resides with her partner in Vancouver, BC.
Material: 14k Gold
by Corrine Hunt