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Norman Tait, Mischievous Man Mask

Norman Tait, Mischievous Man Mask (2008), alder, red and black acrylic paint, operculum shell, horse hair [West Vancouver Museum, West Vancouver BC, Oct 14-Dec 5] Private collection of Michael Audain and Yosihko Karasawa

Finding a Voice: The Art of Norman Tait

West Vancouver Museum
West Vancouver BC – Oct 14-Dec 5, 2015

Norman Tait, Weeping Volcano Woman

Norman Tait, Weeping Volcano Woman (date unknown), alder, Horse Hair [West Vancouver Museum, West Vancouver BC, Oct 14-Dec 5] Private Collection of Michael and Inna O’Brian

Born in the northwestern BC community of Gingolx in 1941, Norman Tait grew up with an appreciation of family protocols and an understanding of Nisga’a myths and legends. As of today, he has carved 39 totem poles. Some of these stand as far afield as the David Suzuki Foundation in Japan to Bushy Park in London, and there are at least five in Metro Vancouver, including those at the University of British Columbia and the Native Education Centre.

A self-described self-taught artist, Tait has not limited himself to poles. In what is “only the second public museum exhibition in history to focus on Norman Tait, “ as the WVM’s director, Darrin Morrison, says, audiences are treated to smaller-scale carvings (masks, bowls, spoons and rattles), jewellery (earrings, bracelets and pendants), prints and photographs. Although most of these works were made after 1980, some are contemporaneous with pieces from Tait’s first exhibition at UBC’s Museum of Anthropology in 1977.

Organized by the Nisga’a Museum, Finding a Voice is curated by its former director, Darrin Martens (who was recently appointed chief curator of the Audain Art Museum in Whistler). Additional exhibition partners include UBC’s Museum of Anthropology and the Museum of Vancouver.


Michael Turner

 Sun, Nov 8, 2015