Nuu-chah-nulth Artist George Clutesi Exhibition at Bill Reid Gallery

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Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art presents Vancouver premiere of the retrospective exhibition George Clutesi ḥašaḥʔap / ʔaapḥii / ʕc̓ik  / ḥaaʔaksuqƛ / ʔiiḥmisʔap. The exhibition features an extensive collection of Clutesi’s artworks and archival photographs, a documentary film of his long-lasting impact, and a curated selection of artworks from contemporary Nuu-chah-nulth artists and scholars.

George Clutesi, Mask of Plenty, 1944

Nuu-chah-nulth Artist George Clutesi Exhibition at Bill Reid Gallery

  • Date: January 20, 2024 to January 19, 2025
  • Address: Bill Reid Gallery (639 Hornby St, Vancouver)
  • Admission: Tickets can be purchased online or on site. Free for Indigenous Peoples and gallery members. Free on the afternoon of the first Friday of every month.

The exhibition at Bill Reid Gallery will showcase 45 artworks by George Clutesi which include original drawings, paintings, prints, and some reproductions. Clutesi’s work often depicts figures and themes central to Nuu-chah-nulth stories, such as whales, thunderbirds, dances, masks, and spiritual customs. Also on display are archival clippings, audio recordings, and photographs, highlighting Clutesi’s expanding presence in the community and across Canada.

Born in 1905, Clutesi created art from an early age, but didn’t begin exhibiting until the 1940s. A featured artist at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1944, West Coast artist Emily Carr was so impressed that she gifted her paint brushes, oils, and canvases to Clutesi in her will. A series of ancillary events will support the exhibition, including an opening celebration on Saturday, January 20, 2024, an artist panel discussion, workshops, a curatorial tour, and a book club event. A full list of events and registration is available online.

Clutesi’s most impactful role was educator and human rights advocate. A deeply moving documentary filmed and edited by Tsawout filmmaker and actor Dano Underwood recounts childhood memories of seven Alberni Indian Residential School (AIRS) survivors, who were cared for and counselled by Clutesi while he was working as a janitor, and later as an educator. Himself a residential school survivor, he often shared cultural stories, songs, and dances with his students to instill a sense of self-pride, offering hope to children who had been forcibly separated from their families and homes.

About 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.

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