Miniatures of the coast coming to Courtenay art gallery

Food bank donation gets entry into gift basket draw at Spirits of the West Coast Art Gallery

Haida mythology is also represented in the artistry and fine knife work of Ron Russ. Photo submitted

Haida mythology is also represented in the artistry and fine knife work of Ron Russ. Photo submitted

The Spirits of the West Coast Art Gallery presents an exhibition and sale of Pacific Northwest coast miniature masterworks by some of the most accomplished contemporary Indigenous artists working today.

The artists selected for the show are known for their detail-oriented creations that showcase the beauty and complexity of Northwest Coast art on a miniature scale. These creations although small in size, are rich in power, myth, and meaning.

For the Haida, storytelling in stone, and carving the black shale known as argillite, is a rich tradition stretching back over 200 years. The gallery will showcase a selection of sculptures and model totem poles carved in argillite, including an incredible 24-inch Mother Bear Pole by Haida artist Henry White.

Beautiful and intricately carved and inlaid works by Haida artist Darrell White are another exhibition highlight.

Haida mythology is also represented in the artistry and fine knife work of Ron Russ. Russ is another highly accomplished carver who often uses a combination of precious metals, argillite abalone, mother of pearl, as well as many different types of wood to create beautifully detailed amulets, sculptures, carvings, and jewelry.

Acclaimed Kwakwaka’wakw carvers Kevin Daniel Cranmer and Cole Speck’s cedar miniatures shine with colour, charisma, and ornamentation, and provide a small glimpse into the complex ceremonialism and richness of Kwakwaka’wakw culture today.

Exquisite repoussé bracelets and pendants in gold, silver, copper, and abalone crafted by Haida jeweler Derek White add glitter and gold to the mix of fine pieces on show.

Haida artist Leon Ridley’s tiny canoe and replica totem poles in yellow cedar and yew wood are joyously detailed. These delightful tiny totem poles will be instantly recognizable to those familiar with the coastal villages of Haida Gwaii.

Creating miniature works in wood and in stone also enables artists to innovate and experiment using different materials before scaling up. Sculptors must be especially careful and anticipate all aspects of the form before casting, carving, or constructing their works.

Admission to the gallery is free, and visitors are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food donation for our Fall Comox Valley Food Bank Drive. Every donor will be entered into a draw for a gift bag valued at $250.

Miniatures of the Northwest Coast is presented in a physical and virtual format. The exhibition and sale opens to the public on Sept. 1 – following COVID-19 safety protocols – at 2926 Back Road, Courtenay.

Visit, on Facebook, Instagram @spiritsofthewestcoast or Twitter @spiritsgallery for more information.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter