Marie Alfreda “Freda” Johnson Diesing was born in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, in 1925. One of the first female carvers on the modern Northwest Coast, Freda began her carving career at the age of 42. She studied at the Vancouver School of Art and at the Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art at ‘Ksan Village.
In the 1960s Diesing and a handful of other artists were responsible for the re-awakening of Northwest Coast art and culture. In the 1980s her work was included in the ground breaking exhibition Legacy — Tradition and Innovation in Northwest Coast Indian Art that was assembled by the Royal British Columbia Museum, which later toured to other countries helping bring awareness and appreciation to her culture’s art and history to the world at large.
Freda contributed many works to local communities and her work can be seen in Prince Rupert and Terrace. In 2000 she was awarded an honorary diploma from Northwest Community College. In 2002 she received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award and an honorary doctorate from the University of Northern British Columbia.
Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art