“I think tradition is continually in a state of change, or innovation, constantly being altered to reflect the artists’ life experiences. Sometimes I think I have a duty to show the world something. Our art and our culture and our language have always been changing. Innovation is the second-oldest form of tradition.”
Born into a family of artists that include uncle and noted carver Walter Harris and cousin and jeweler Earl Muldon; began carving in 1970 and was trained in a four-year apprenticeship with his uncle; also attended Kitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art, Hazelton, British Columbia; and served a two-year apprenticeship under master artist, Robert Davidson. By the age of eighteen, Ya’Ya was already teaching, although he was still apprenticed to his uncle, and worked on large commissions with him. Ya’Ya’s work has appeared in many exhibitions, including Sacred Circles: 2000 Years of North American Indian Art, a traveling exhibition organized by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri; and Lost and Found Traditions: Native American Art 1965-1985, a traveling exhibition organized by the American Federation of Arts, New York.
Excerpts from “Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation 2”, Museum of Arts and Design, New York
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