Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)
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Roi Toia: Transitions

Roi Toia: Transitions

Māori Solo Exhibition

May 13 - June 2, 2006

The summer of June 2005, Washington State, USA, was the launch of a new experience and new creative direction for me. I was honoured to become the recipient of two ‘artist-in-residence’ scholarships at the reputed Pilchuck School of Glass and the Tacoma Museum of Glass. Such renowned First Nations artists as Susan Point, Joe David and Preston Singletary have all graced the hallowed ground of the ‘Pilchuck experience’.

At Pilchuck I was privileged enough to enter into a world and observe noted and skilled artists attending to their chosen fields in the manipulation and creation of glass art. In this isolated arts retreat, in a forested wilderness, the raw energy of the glass blowing furnaces pulsate with the timeless rhythm of the land. I was awestruck as I walked into this unworldly environment. I could only liken this experience to a face-to-face encounter with the raw ferocity of the earth’s core and so I became immersed in the dynamic power of glass.

As the days passed I began to comprehend the vastness and diversity of glass, at the same time feeling bewildered by its endless possibilities. This ignited my creative juices, as the confrontation of a new challenge excited my ability to transcend mediums. I had to alter my original thought process to translate 25 years of experience in traditional carving to accommodate the organic and tempermental medium of glass. Finally, the interaction of two foreign materials surprisingly evolved into a collaboration of ‘concept’ and ‘sculptural form’.

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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