Kalsang Dawa is a professional Thangka artist based in Vancouver. He began his studies in traditional Tibetan art at the age of 14 in Lhasa, Tibet. He later studied for three years at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala, India, under the guidance of Venerable Sangye Yeshe, a Master Thangka artist appointed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to teach his art and philosophy to a new generation of Tibetans in exile. Dawa’s paintings can be found in monasteries and private collections in India, Europe, Japan, Canada and the United States. He no longer limits himself to traditional deity forms, but still looks at the world through spiritual eyes.
Carrie Matilpi is a Kwakwaka’wakw artist born in Vancouver and raised in Alert Bay, BC. She aspired to be an artist from a young age. At nineteen she began a carving apprenticeship with her father, master carver Charles Harper. Matilpi is known in the Pacific Northwest for her jewelry designs. She is equally comfortable engraving in silver or gold, and carves mainly in the Kwakwaka’wakw style. Matilpi often works in collaboration with her sister Victoria Harper, also a jewelry carver.
Lou-ann Neel is originally from Alert Bay and grew up in Victoria, BC. In her home territory, the Kwak’wala names she carries are K’iditle’logw, Ika’wega and Ga’axstalas. She is a descendant of the Mamalilikala, Da’naxda’xw, Ma’amtagila, ‘Namgis and Kwagiulth tribes of the Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwak’wala-speaking people). Neel has been designing and creating original works for over 30 years, working first in wood carving and original painted designs and moving on to textiles and jewelry design. Her art is greatly influenced by the work of her grandmother, Ellen Neel (Kakasolas), and her great-great-grandfather, Charlie James (Yakuglas). She considers it a great honour to be able to continue the artistic traditions of her family.
Meghann O’Brien is a Haida/Kwakwaka’wakw artist from Alert Bay, BC. She spent 15 years as a snowboarder before starting to weave on her own in 2007. She was later taught the traditional Ravenstail and Chilkat weaving forms, and uses her artwork to both explore her Northwest Coast cultural heritage, and rebuild and maintain bonds with her community. O’Brien is interested in working with natural materials to explore notions of time, space and genetic identity, and continues to work with traditional forms to create new and contemporary pieces. She is committed to raising awareness about weaving as a living art form.
Rupert Scow is an artist based in Alert Bay, BC. The Scow family, known as “The people of the Bear,” is Kwikwasut’inuxw from the village of Gwa’yasdams on Gilford Island, and takes the Bear and the Gwa’yasdams crest of the Sisiutl, or double headed sea serpent, as family crests. Scow descends from a long line of carvers and respected elders, and began learning to carve cedar in his 20s. He soon developed his own style, and continues to seek to keep the tradition of carving alive by teaching others the traditional techniques. He believes in the importance of passing traditional art forms down to younger generations, and volunteers part of his time teaching aspiring First Nations carvers in the lower mainland.
Lyle Wilson is a Haisla artist from Kitamaat village in BC. He originally sought a career in art education at UBC, but then left to pursue his own artistic endeavors in printmaking at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. He considers himself a lifelong student and carver, and enjoys studying and analyzing historical works of Northwest Coast art in museum and private collections. He has researched and experimented with Northwest Coast painting for over 30 years, participating in MOA’s image recovery project, and becoming a major figure in rebuilding recognition for the painted art, old and new.