Artwork takes many different forms across cultures and across time. Xwi7xwa Library has a whole section of works of art books in our collection, but with the current pandemic, some of those books are not as easily available. Below, we’ve rounded up 12 different videos, streaming anytime on McIntyre Media through UBC Library, that illustrate the different forms of art in Indigenous cultures.
Making of a Haida Totem Pole is Kelvin Redvers’s portrayal of Don Yeomans is a contemporary Haida carver who was commissioned by the Vancouver Airport Art Foundation to make two 40 foot totem poles for the building linking domestic and international terminals at YVR. Follow the making of these unique poles-from log to installation-and listen to insight into the carver’s creative process, his relationship with family and culture, and his philosophy about art and tradition.
Carrying on the Tradition follows April Churchill and Gladys Vandal, highly gifted and talented Haida artists, both of whom have worked to preserve the Haida weaving tradition. The eldest daughter of legendary teacher Delores Churchill, April discusses why safeguarding tradition is important to her. Gladys Vandal also has roots deep in the basketry that grows out of the cedar tree.
Argillite Carver is a documentary on artist Christian White who carves elaborate Haida stories, imbued with a sense of tradition, into an indigenous slate known as argillite in Masset, British Columbia . The mystery of his art, however, does not unfold until a quiet conversation about his latest panel pipe brings out his passion.
Cedar Hat Weaving tells the story of cedar, how the bark is stripped from the cedar tree and prepared for cedar weaving (hats) and discusses the art of cedar weaving and the affect this workshop had on the participants.
Art of Drum Making : First Nations making a Drum shows a step-by-step process on how to build a drum and shares stories and teachings taught by Jorge Lewis from the Snuneymuxw First Nation in B.C.
From Hand to Hand documents how Charles Edenshaw played an enormous role in preserving his people’s ancient art forms at a time when their very survival was in question. In this powerful documentary, his descendants Robert Davidson, Carmen Goertzen and Christian White, celebrated artists in their own right, discuss his legacy as Haida Elders have passed it down to them.
Killer Whale and Crocodile In this film, watch a First Nations carver from Canada travels into the jungles of Papua New Guinea and a New Guinea carver travels to urban Canada. Together, they share each other’s cultures and learn about the myths and legends that inform their individual artistic styles. The Coast Salish carvings include killer whales, ravens and eagles; the Sepik pieces include crocodiles, cassowaries and hornbills. But both speak of culture, tradition and art.
Life and Work of the Woodland Artists is a film on the work of the “Indian Group of Seven”, made up of First Nation artists Daphne Odjig, Norval Morrisseau, Jackson Beardy, Carl Ray, Joseph Sanchez, Eddy Cobiness and Alex Janvier. The film traces the pivotal transition in Canadian and Aboriginal consciousness of native art, created by the canvases of these artists, through candid interviews with the group’s surviving members, family members and art critics.
New Masters features three leading carvers from the new generation, some of the last apprentices who worked with the late Haida Master Bill Reid. Tim Boyko and Garner Moody work out of the same carvers’ shed in Skidegate, British Columbia, a structure originally built by one of their elders. Working alone, Clayton Gladstone carves on wood and precious metals, and shares his views about contemporary and traditional art.
On the Trail of Property Woman tells the story of Freda Diesing, who in the 1960s was among the vanguard of Haida artists whose talents sparked a revival of her culture’s artwork. At the age of 42 she took up carving and established herself as not only an exceptional carver, but also an enthusiastic teacher and mentor.
Portrait of a Mask Maker allows the viewer to join Reg Davidson in his studio to watch him carve and share his views about Haida art. Reg does not consider himself an artist, though he has produced an impressive body of work and enjoyed a demand for his many masks. A singer and dancer of Haida traditional compositions, his unique personality allows for a broad, often comical, theatrical presentation of dance.
Robert Davidson: Eagle of the Dawn is a documentary about Guud San Glans (“Eagle of the Dawn” in Haida), or Robert Davidson, stands apart internationally with his innovative and staggering output of high art. In his quest to make beautiful objects, Robert has inspired a new approach to Haida art, becoming a master of several media and pursuing a lofty cultural objective.
Spruce Root Weaver: Isabel Rorick takes the viewer to Masset B.C., where Isabel uses spruce roots to make some of the most intricate and beautiful hats and baskets in the Pacific Northwest. Related to both Florence Edenshaw Davidson and Selina Peratrovich, Isabel comes from a long line of artists. Her great-grandmother was the legendary weaver, Isabella Edenshaw. Taking a personal journey to North Beach on Haida Gwaii, Isabel harvests her own roots.
Haida jewelers follows Carmen Goertzen and Frank Paulson who are two contemporary carvers who specialize in silver and gold. Both are motivated to pursue jewelry making by a desire for independence. They discuss their own processes and inspirations, how Haida jewelry fits into the larger tradition Haida art, and in a highly competitive marketplace, the need to maintain a profile with the city’s galleries and private collectors.
Looking for more information on Indigenous artwork? Check out these resources below from UBC Library:
First Nations and Indigenous Art Research Guide from the Music, Art, & Architecture Library
Indigenous New Media Research Guide from Xwi7xwa Library