Bright Futures at Bill Reid Gallery

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Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art presents the Canadian premiere exhibition of Bright Futures from April 26, 2023 until January 14, 2024. Co-curated by Bill Reid Gallery Curator Beth Carter, Assistant Curator Aliya Boubard, and in consultation with Jordan Wilson (Musqueam), Bright Futures examines the lasting influence of Bill Reid’s iconic art on the development and creation of contemporary Northwest Coast art today, 25 years after his death in 1998.

Yolonda Skelton Dress and Train, Pleated Chiffon and Ponti Dress with Beaver fur trim
Yolonda Skelton Chilkat Dress and Eagle Train, 2022 Pleated Chiffon and Ponti Dress with Beaver fur trim. Ultrasuede Appliqued Cuffs and Removable Wool Suiting Appliqued Eagle Train Courtesy of the artist. Photo courtesy of the Bill Reid Gallery.

Bright Futures at Bill Reid Gallery

  • When: April 26, 2023 – January 14, 2024
  • Where: Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art (639 Hornby St, Vancouver)
  • Admission: $0 – $13, tickets can be purchased online or on site

Alongside a selection of works from Bill Reid Gallery’s permanent collection, the group exhibition showcases a broad variety of disciplines and cultures from BC and the Yukon, including surrealist painting, classic weaving, wearable art, conceptual installation, modern carving, metalwork, and abstract photography.

“Central to Bright Futures is how contemporary Indigenous artists of the Northwest Coast seize new materials and interpret Bill Reid’s legacy today,” says Beth Carter, Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Curator. “Bill Reid was a leader and influencer in building a broader understanding of Northwest Coast art, and combining traditional Haida elements with new techniques and materials. In the examination of traditional culture and familial lineage within his own works, coupled with those of his fellow artists, Bill Reid found inspiration and opportunities for an innovative and bright future.”

The exhibition’s works were selected from an open call for submissions, based on the question: “How does Bill Reid’s work continue to influence contemporary Northwest Coast art being produced today?” The 14 selected artists interweave excellence and traditional knowledge with contemporary topics, such as reconciliation, urban issues, modern creativity, environmental concerns, and intergenerational healing, which fuel their practice and push the boundaries of their art.

Selected artists, many of whom will make their debut with Bill Reid Gallery, include: Tamara Bell (Haida), Sherri Dick (Haida), Rebecca Baker-Grenier (Kwag’ul/Squamish), Shoshanna Greene (Haida), Maynard Johnny Jr (Kwakwaka’wakw/Salish), Keith Kerrigan (Haida), Cody Lecoy (Sylix/Lekwungen), Latham Mack (Nuxalk), Calvin Morberg (Teslin Tlingit), Kelly Robinson (Nuxalk), Natasha Seymour (Tahitan/Tsimshian/Nisga’a), Yolonda Skelton (Gitxsan), Krystle Silverfox (Northern Tutchone/Selkirk) and Dustin Sheldon (Teslin Tlingit).

Each of the selected works will respond to one or more of Bill Reid’s pieces, which developed and transformed greatly over the course of his career, from copying traditional Haida designs to later re-interpreting Haida stories and aesthetics in his unique vision.

A series of events will support Bright Futures, including an opening celebration on April 25 at 6:00pm, several workshops, a panel discussion, artist talks, curatorial tours and a contemporary Indigenous artist market event. Events will be offered in-person, with some additional activities available online.

About the Bill Reid Gallery

The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art is a public gallery nestled in the heart of downtown Vancouver. It was named after acclaimed Haida artist Bill Reid (1920–1998), a master goldsmith, carver, sculptor, writer, broadcaster, and spokesman. Since opening in May 2008, the Bill Reid Gallery has remained the only public gallery in Canada devoted to contemporary Indigenous art of the Northwest Coast, and is home to the Simon Fraser University Bill Reid Art Collection, as well as special exhibitions of contemporary Indigenous art of the Northwest Coast of North America.

Related: Gallery Exhibits in Vancouver This Spring

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