The Spirit Wrestler Gallery is very pleased to bring this remarkable fusion exhibition of small masterworks by three cultures that we proudly represent: Maori of Aotearoa (New Zealand), First Nations of the Northwest Coast and Inuit of northern Canada. The conversation between these works from three corners of the world will tell stories that offer both comparison and contrast making the gallery a truly unique place to visit.
Over the last few years, we have mounted a number of monumental exhibitions of large-scale works of art—this time we wanted to present an exhibition on a smaller scale that would surprise and delight our audience. Greatness can be small in appearance, yet still be large in presence and power. The criterion for this exhibition was to select unique works that expressed the artists’ attention to detail. The challenges were to find the curious—and to have fun!
The Maori artists have excelled, producing an extraordinary selection of innovative works in a great variety of media, including ceramics, harakeke flax and pounamu jade. For many artists who are much in demand now for their larger works, it was a rare opportunity for them to produce art on a smaller scale.
From the artists of the Northwest Coast came wonderful, intricate utilitarian and regalia pieces in varied native woods from the Pacific coastline. Amongst the many inspired works featured here are exquisitely inlaid argillites, detailed narrative designs in silver, and delicately chiseled and painted carvings in wood.
The Inuit were a nomadic culture that had to be self-sufficient, producing all the implements and tools necessary to their survival. They also carved small protector amulet forms—as well as small carvings that reflected their sense of the world around them. The tradition continues here in a more contemporary flavour with smaller, often candid and humorous works in indigenous materials from the Arctic.
This collection was a pleasure to plan and to curate—and as the works began to arrive, it was so exciting to open those small boxes to reveal the treasures inside! We invite you to join us here at the gallery to view the exhibition—a wonderful blend of creations to be appreciated in the hand, to crack a smile, or to simply amaze.
April 23 - May 14, 2016
The Spirit Wrestler team: Colin Choi, Derek Norton, Nigel Reading and Gary Wyatt, have been together now for over 30 years representing master-level Inuit, Northwest Coast, and Māori art - and for the last 20 years as the Spirit Wrestler Gallery. We are celebrating this amazing 20-year journey with a “birthday” exhibition, “Reflections 20Years”. The exhibition will feature many of the great artists from the three extraordinary cultures that we represent that have shared and supported us on this journey… and it is also a “thank you” for all of you who have made this journey so much fun! The Spirit Wrestler Gallery was founded in 1996 and quickly became one of the foremost galleries of first-nation art in North America. The name Spirit Wrestler originates from the title of the book by James Houston that tells the story of a young shaman learning his powers in the Canadian north. At the time, the gallery was looking for a name that allowed for the consideration of both traditional and shamanist-based arts here in Canada, as well as embracing the work by other artists from around the world. Early exhibitions included artists from Alaska, the Canadian Plains, and the Māori from New Zealand, being shown in the same room as Northwest Coast and Inuit art. The cross-cultural interactions have offered a unique fusion in the gallery and generated many group and solo exhibitions that we have hosted over the years. We were witnessing the trend of a growing interaction internationally between artists who were travelling far afield to research the art and modern cultural practices of other nations - and along the way, forging friendships that have endured across great distances. The last two decades have also been an exciting transition time for the arts being created by all three cultures. There was a pronounced movement towards the incorporation of new materials, such as glass, bronze, and polymers - which has opened new avenues for the art itself, both in terms of subject and scale. To be a part of seeing the artists exhibiting their work side-by-side has been very exciting and has made the Spirit Wrestler Gallery a unique and challenging experience for any visitor. We have had the privilege of representing many of the greatest Northwest Coast, Inuit, and Māori artists of our time - and have have had the privilege of showing a great number of the most important pieces produced over the last three decades. It has been an honour to share this long journey with so many great artists and clients. Thank you all so much for your belief and support.
Spirit Wrestler Gallery
47 Water Street
Canada V6B 1A1
Toll Free: 1-888-669-8813
3 blocks from Waterfront Station
Between Abbott St. and Carrall St.
Monday to Saturday, open 10-6
Sunday and Holidays, open 12-5
© 2016 Spirit Wrestler Gallery. All Rights Reserved.