I had the opportunity to visit Aotearoa in the spring of 2003 and visited many of the artists in this exhibition. I accepted an invitation to attend the Toi Maori Arts Festival held in Christchurch. I was amazed by how much the Maori culture was like our own. Stories, clans, ways of living, much of the art and the tools were all similar, and the people bear many traits to the people of the north. We can relate to this very powerful culture that is like ours.
Norman is of the Tongass Tlingit Nation and was born in Ketchikan, Alaska. His lineage is from his mother, who is of the Tongass Tlingit Hoots Hits Bear House of southern Alaska. His father is Kaagwaantaan Tlingit of Klukwan, Alaska. Norman studied at the Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art and received advanced training in carving. He also received training in metal engraving from the Totem Heritage Center in Ketchikan. He is recognized as a master artist in metal engraving by the Alaska State Council on the Arts Master Artist and Apprentice Grant, and he has received numerous honours for his excellence in woodcarving. He has apprenticed with master artists Dempsey Bob and Phil Janze and has been invited to pass on his knowledge by participating in several symposia on professional carving. Norman’s work is held in major collections and was represented in “A Treasured Heritage,” a travelling exhibition put together by the Institute of Alaska Native Artists.
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