First Winter Arts Market features acclaimed Indigenous makers

Posted on November 15, 2019

Building on the excitement of this past summer’s Indigenous Arts Studio, the Royal BC Museum is thrilled to host the first Indigenous Winter Arts Market featuring many of the same artists.

On Saturday, Nov. 23 from 10 am to 4 pm, meet Tim Alfred, Virgil Sampson, Jesse Campbell, Frances and Carolyn Memnook and many other accomplished Indigenous makers in Clifford Carl Hall.

Artists will be selling directly to the public at the free event, making it a unique opportunity to find heirloom-quality gifts this holiday season.

This newest arts initiative builds on the legacy of several generations of Indigenous artists, starting with Mungo Martin and Henry Hunt who carved on Museum grounds in the early 1950s.

“All those carvers and artists went on to mentor a younger generation,” says Repatriation Specialist Lou-ann Neel, herself a practicing visual artist working in textiles, jewelry and digital design. 

The recent summer studio paired emerging and established artists working across disciplines. Neel says that “over the summer, every combination of artists had similar conversations and shared similar issues. 

“For many of the younger artists, it was a chance to watch and learn how to interact with the public…how to spark a conversation around their art."

The Winter Artist’s Studio will wrap up a day-long debrief with dozens of artists who participated in the summer studio. The goal: to build a permanent Indigenous Studio Space as part of the revitalized Royal BC Museum. 

Says Neel: “We have heard from the artists that these studios are hugely validating experiences. It helps to build confidence.

“That’s what we’re after here…the idea has always been to create a place where apprentices and emerging artists could get encouragement that they’re on the right path, whether through supportive words or new techniques and skills.

“This next generation of artists is reviving some very old styles and thinking of art in ways we couldn’t even have conceived of 10 years ago.

“People like Coast Salish artist Dylan Thomas are taking hold of it and running with it in new ways. And there have never been so many women carvers in one place before! It’s an exciting time!”

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