December 4, 2014

Gwaai Edenshaw Overseas

Throughout the month of September, Gwaai Edenshaw was artist in residence at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, England. Gwaai and his brother Jaalen were at the Pitt Rivers to study a large nineteenth-century bentwood Haida chest that the museum has had in its collection for many decades. This chest is considered to be one of the best examples of early Haida formline, so Gwaai and his brother were there to both study the piece and to create a replica box. This replica is set to come to British Columbia, so future artists and fans of Northwest Coast art can admire this complex work.

Gwaai and Jaalen at the Pitt Rivers Museum
Gwaai said the following about this great Haida masterwork: "Boxes are a good study of Haida formline. They follow a certain set of conventions and they can easily be compared. It is clear that the artist was a true master, exceptionally well versed in in the form. This single box has many innovations that we thought belonged to our modern day greats - an exciting, and humbling discovery. In addition, there are deviations from the norm contained in the form line."

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