Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bill Reid-Canadian Artistic Genius

Jade Canoe-Bronze Sculpture
by Bill Reid 1920-1998
photo (c) Terry Krysak

Bill Reid another of My Favorite Artists was a Canadian artist whose father was of European descent, and his mother was a First Nations Haida aboriginal. Reid was profoundly influenced by his paternal grandfather Charles Edenshaw, a renowned Haida artist carver.

Reid became interested in Haida art while he was a radio announcer in Toronto, and studying jewelry making. In 1951 he returned to Vancouver, and began studying the work of Edenshaw, as well as visiting the remains of Haida villages on the Queen Charlotte Islands, and ultimately was responsible for helping to put together a small replica of a Haida village located in the UBC Museum of Anthropology.

The Jade Canoe as shown above (located at Vancouver International Airport) is a representation of an ancient Haida dugout canoe, bearing thirteen supernatural creatures, each in some way related to the Haida's mythical past. For many centuries the Haida people lived in a rich fulfilled existence, nourished by the wealth of their homeland, and watched over by the gods and demigods who peopled their world.

Raven And The First Men
by Bill Reid
Cedar Sculpture

I have always been fascinated by the art of the Haida, and Bill Reid has succeeded in taking this art form to an entirely new level by taking classical Haida imagery, and transforming and morphing it into three dimensional sculptures that would be the envy of many famous sculptors. His use of cedar, and eventually bronze has proven to be an enormous achievement, and has left us with many fantastic works of art that grace our communities for all to see.

Visit the Bill Reid Foundation
Visit the Bill Reid Gallery

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