Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)
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Robert Davidson: Four Decades

Robert Davidson: Four Decades

Northwest Coast Event

November 21, 2009

Celebrating the release of a new body of work by Haida artist Robert Davidson including the exclusive limited edition print “Oyster Catcher”, the book launch of “Four Decades: An Innocent Gesture” documenting the 40th anniversary of the Masset pole raising, and to celebrate the Haida Gwaii Singers Society receiving the Keeper of Traditions in Aboriginal Music award at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards.

Robert Davidson is one of the most decorated Canadian artists today. He has received such prestigious awards as the Order of Canada, the Order of British Columbia, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, and was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.

He was born in Hydaburg, Alaska in 1946, and was raised in the village of Masset on Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands). From childhood, he was a natural and gifted designer, learning traditional Haida form from his father and grandfather. After completing high school he embarked on a full-time career as a Northwest Coast artist. The scope of his work has spanned all traditional materials and scale. He is at ease with graphics, precious metals, argillite, and wood. His later work has also included works in aluminum and bronze.

His 1993 exhibition, “Eagle of the Dawn”, at the Vancouver Art Gallery was the largest solo exhibition of any Northwest Coast artist, and spanned four decades of artistic achievement. In 2004, his solo exhibition, “The Abstract Edge” premiered at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC and then also toured nationally. This exhibition unveiled a contemporary direction and focused strictly on his personal interpretation of Haida design. His work has been a necessary part of all major exhibitions and publications of contemporary Northwest Coast art. With the release of “Four Decades: An Innocent Gesture”, there are now five publications on his art and career. In addition, Robert has initiated many projects and events dedicated to the preservation of Haida language, culture, and ceremony, as well as his ceaseless support of the art.

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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


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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