Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Derek Wilson

Haisla (Xanaksiyala) (Killerwhale)


Derek Wilson was born in Kemano, British Columbia in 1950. He is from the Killerwhale clan of the Haisla (Xanaksiyala) Nation. His mother was from Kemano and his father was from Kitamaat. He is a hereditary chief who comes from a long line of accomplished artists.

His uncle, Henry Robertson, began to teach him to carve at the age of eleven as part of his cultural teaching and responsibilities as a chief. He began to carve silver and gold in 1976 and is largely self-taught in his primary medium, although he has taken several courses at the Vancouver Community College to increase his technical range as a jeweller. He is considered among the most established and innovative jewellery artists on the Northwest Coast. He also designs ceremonial clothing and has produced a number of limited edition prints.

In August of 2000, Derek was invited with his brother Barry and uncle, Henry Robertson, to travel to Sweden to raise a totem pole that they had carved to replace an existing Haisla pole, circa 1900.

Artist Contemporaries