The Spirit Wrestler Gallery is excited to present our second fusion exhibition 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.
We sincerely believe in the cross-cultural connection between aboriginal artists and over the last eight years have built our reputation on this philosophy. The world is becoming increasingly smaller as artists fly in to attend overseas conferences, cultural gatherings, and artist workshops. Many of these artists are participating in art collaborations or securing international commissions. Artists communicate through their art — bridging frontiers, languages and cultural boundaries. These lines are now becoming blurred as cultures also often share similar techniques, subject matter and designs.
The positive response, from both the participating artists and our viewing clientele, expressed how much they enjoyed the first Mini-Masterworks exhibition, inspired us to curate this collection. The original theme of securing memorable small gems remains the same, but with the idea of changing the mix by introducing different artists, exploring new directions, and providing a few surprises.
The Maori continue to reveal their versatility with artists creating exciting contemporary artworks in traditional materials of pounamu (jade), wood and harakeke flax, as well as in ceramics, metals and paintings on canvas.
The depth of artistic talent is also very evident in the Northwest Coast collection, with both the master and the younger artists producing extraordinary smaller works from frontlets, rattles and model totem poles, to intricate silver, gold and multi-inlaid argillite jewellery.
The Inuit, traditionally a nomadic culture who excelled in small amulets, continue to demonstrate their natural inclination towards miniatures. This wonderful selection of traditional and contemporary carvings has been made in a variety of materials by artists living across the Arctic, from Alaska in the west to Labrador in the east.
We are also very excited to have the support of Denise Wallace, a renowned master Aleut jeweler from Alaska, whom we have admired and respected for many years. She is a natural fit, with her close personal connection with many of the Maori and Northwest Coast artists exhibiting in this collection.
It is truly a pleasure building this cross-cultural exhibition as we continue to discover new artists and unique artworks. We hope that you will be amazed with this collection as much as we are.
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.