The Nuu-chah-nulth calendar year was described by thirteen moon phases with four additional moons for the individual seasons. At least one elder was given the prestigious and important position of monitoring and analyzing information from the moon. The moon told of the arrival of food sources such as the salmon’s return and the size of berry crops. It also told of weather conditions, changes to the environment and other information that allowed the people to prepare for the months ahead. Culturally, each moon was portrayed by images that described the unique characteristics of that particular time of year.
In the beginning of such an important year, as the world watches a new century unfold, it is fitting for the Spirit Wrestler Gallery to start with a show which encompasses both a historical and futuristic vision of the Northwest Coast and our changing world. As an extension of this exhibition a documentary film on the work of Tim Paul and his interpretations of the moon is also being made. To many people in the Northwest Coast community, the subject of this show has been seen as long overdue, an important project to finally see realized. Tim Paul has continued to evolve as an artist and is considered to be among the great innovators of the current generation — although he personally measures his success as an artist by the ability of the tribal elders to read the many cultural references which he incorporates into each piece.
Tim Paul is a Nuu-chah-nulth (Hesquiaht) artist from Esperenza Inlet on Vancouver Island. He is among the premier artists from this region and in recent years has emerged as a respected elder with vast cultural knowledge and a respect and understanding of the associated responsibilities. The Nuu-chah-nulth Moon calendar is a subject he has explored throughout his long artistic career and it has been an influence on the development of his unique style. Appreciating the many perspectives towards the understanding of the influence of the moon on the world has continued to challenge him and has encouraged work that is both deeply traditional and highly innovative.
Tim became the first artist from outside of the Hunt family to hold the position of First Carver for the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, BC. During his seven years in that position, he carved many totem poles for international sites including poles for Wakefield and Yorkshire Park in England, Stanley Park in Vancouver, Canada and Auckland, New Zealand (a gift from the Government of Canada for hosting the Commonwealth Games). He left his position to oversee a new program focusing on native education for the Port Alberni School Board and Greater Vancouver Island. For the past several years he has concentrated on carving.
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
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