Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)
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Northwest Coast Indian Artists Guild 1977

Northwest Coast Indian Artists Guild 1977

Northwest Coast Group Exhibition


The 1977 Northwest Coast Indian Artists Guild series was the first major statement on contemporary Northwest Coast graphics.

Released at the Vancouver Art Gallery and documented in a feature catalogue produced by the Canadian Indian Marketing Services in Ottawa, the guild was curated cooperatively by the participating artists.

The series included many of the established graphic artists such as Robert Davidson, Joe David and Roy Henry Vickers who continue to shape the world interest in Northwest Coast graphics.

Many of the prints included in this collection were further documented as definitive images in later publications and catalogues. Screen-printing programs were offered during the early years at the Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast art in Hazelton and established an interest among the artists and the potential for prints in the emerging market. For the first few years, because of the insignificant values the prints were being sold for, the artists were producing very large editions on inexpensive and often, non-archival, paper to keep the production cost down.

Over time, galleries replaced tourist shops and graphics began to earn a respected position in the fine art market—and the artists began to realize that the only way to make the art collectable was to make smaller editions—and make great imagery.

The Guild Series was produced in small editions on archival paper and played with grander scale images. In the words of Robert Davidson: “It was time to take prints from the back bedroom to the living room.”

A second series of prints was released to equal acclaim in 1978 and a lesser-known series in 1979. By this time the artists were firmly on their feet and forging careers in different directions.

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Current Exhibition

20th Anniversary

20th Anniversary Exhibition

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.

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Spirit Wrestler Gallery

47 Water Street
Vancouver, BC
Canada V6B 1A1

Toll Free: 1-888-669-8813
Phone: 604-669-8813

info@spiritwrestler.com

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3 blocks from Waterfront Station
Between Abbott St. and Carrall St.

Monday to Saturday, open 10-6
Sunday and Holidays, open 12-5