The Spirit Wrestler Gallery is delighted to present our third installment of small masterworks by artists from the three cultures that we represent: Maori of Aotearoa (New Zealand), First Nations of the Northwest Coast and Inuit of Alaska and Northern Canada.
The enormous popularity and response to our Mini-Masterwork exhibitions over the years has encouraged us to present a third collection. We are excited that this fusion format seems to both inspire the artists and appeal to our audience.
This year celebrates our tenth anniversary of representing Maori art and what a memorable decade it has been. We have had the pleasure to introduce an extraordinary culture and the opportunity to work with so many great Maori artists. This exhibition is an appropriate celebration of this anniversary as we continue to build and strengthen this vital cross-cultural link across the Pacific.
Our Maori representation continues to evolve and sparkle with the depth of their artistic talent. We are continually encouraged by having the ongoing support from so many of their master artists working in the varied mediums of pounamu (jade), wood, ceramics, painting and weaving. This new collection introduces glass by Te Rongo Kirkwood and woven silver by Matthew McIntyre-Wilson.
It is especially an honour to have the inclusion of tohunga whakairo (master carver), Clive Fugill. Clive has been teaching at Te Puia (Maori Carving Institute) in Rotorua for the last forty years and has seen many of the most renowned carvers of today pass through his classes.
Northwest Coast art continues to prosper, with artists approaching the gallery with unique new works that both surprise and amaze. This selection is a variety of smaller inspired, wearable artworks; including intricately carved pendants, rattles, frontlets and jewellery. The collection continues to highlight three notable younger artists, Shawn Hunt, William Kuhnley and Jay Simeon, who have garnered much attention for their innovation and strength of design.
Inuit art excels in the miniature scale. It is a natural transition from the traditional amulets of the past to contemporary miniatures of today. It seems that small, powerful carvings in stone, ivory and antler, magically appear in our hands from all over the Canadian and Alaskan Arctic. Art by Billy Gauthier, Michael Massie, Silas Kayakjuak and Mattiusi Iyaituk reflect the contemporary direction of our gallery, but this selection is enriched by the inclusion of a number of works by artists now considered legendary to the art. One can delight in seeing small masterpieces by Luke Anowtalik, Judas Ullulaq, Abraham Etungat, Osuitok Ipeelee, to name a few.
The challenge is always in finding the inspired piece. We have had fun assembling this wonderful collection of small treasures for you to enjoy. We hope that you agree and can join us in sharing this celebration.
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.