James H. Lewis (Sa Tsan) is a First Nations carver from the Northwest Coast of British Columbia. He comes from the small Tsimshian village of Kitkatla and is a member of the Wolf Clan. His maternal lineage is Tsimshian and his paternal lineage is Tahltan and Tlingit.
James has been carving since 1988. He has studied with Dempsey Bob, a well known master carver — also from the Tahltan/Tlingit Nations. Prominent carvers, Ken McNeil and Stan Bevan have also been integral to his development as an artist.
James has competed many pieces, including bowls, spoons, masks, frontlets, talking and walking sticks, as well as totem poles. Many have been donated to non-profit organizations within British Columbia. He also has several pieces in private collections around the world, including Japan, England, and the United States. Perhaps his most prominent piece is an Eagle Mask held in the United States White House collection. He has been exhibiting for the past 20 years in galleries and recently has been shown in group exhibits: “People of the Cedar” (Melbourne, Australia, November 2007) and “Su-ga-gyet — A New Generation (Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art, April 2008).
James has worked hard to gain his knowledge and skills in the art and is dedicated to understanding and working in the old ways. He believes that the spiritual values and traditions of the culture are an integral part of the art itself and should be kept as authentic as possible.
James is completing his second year at the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art in Terrace, B.C. He is a dedicated learner and teacher of Northwest Coast art and is looking forward to educating the next generation of artists.
James lives by words once spoken to him by Dempsey Bob: “Talent is cheap; it’s the dedication that is costly.”
Artists Statement, 2008
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