VANCOUVER ISLAND VANGUARD
Artist Talk: March 2nd 4 – 6pm by – TEMOSEN Charles Elliott
Alcheringa Gallery is proud to present an historic print exhibition that focuses on Vancouver Island-based artists, whose innovative work has made a resounding impact on the contemporary art canon of the Northwest Coast, but who have been recently overlooked. Artists such as TEMOSEN Charles Elliott, Delmar Johnnie Seletze’ and Mark Henderson will be a major focus alongside Beau Dick, Art Thompson and Susan (Sparrow) Point to name a few. A spotlight on over 30 works from the influencers of the burgeoning renaissance of Coast Salish contemporary art.
There are names everyone recognizes and stories that will always sound familiar. But what happens when our own Island-based influential artists don’t make it into that canon. When collective memory doesn’t necessarily parallel to the inspiration and influence of the younger artists? As we witness the burgeoning renaissance of Coast Salish artwork we would be remiss to not focus on the work of Charles Elliott, Delmar Johnnie Seletze and Mark Henderson.
Having been awarded the Order of British Columbia amidst international success, Coast Salish artist, Charles Elliott’s (TEMOSEN) art work is like examining the old masters. The tension in his elongated forms, his story telling within the work, and the influence he continues to hold over young Salish artists is undeniable. He created the Queen’s baton at the used in the 1994 Commonwealth Games and a talking stick presented to Nelson Mandela. Delmar Johnnie Seletze (1946-2012) was an artistic pioneer, and spiritual leader. Seletze’s work touches upon sacred ceremonies, but only faintly and elegantly enough for those in the know. For everyone else they remain a snapshot image of transformation and a story just waiting to be told.
As we head up island towards Kwakwaka’wakw territory we can find artists deeply involved in art, culture and community, whose name rarely comes up in canon. Mark Henderson (1953 – 2016) created sophisticated multi-colour silk screen prints that have a whimsical painterly quality to them. There is always movement, and flow, landscape and motion, form line and nature. It is pictoral in a way took the current style and made it approachable, recognizable and ultimately fun.
image: Mark Henderson (Kwakwaka’wakw): Pugwis, 1988.