NORTHWEST COAST NATIVE ART
Haida Totem Pole by Corey Bulpitt. Carved in public at the Bill Reid Gallery in 2016.
T’aak’eit Gaayaa, the Haida name given to Corey Bulpitt, translates to "gifted carver." Born October 24th, 1978 in Prince Rupert British Columbia, his lineage is Naikun Qiighawaay from Rose Spit. He is from the Raven clan, one of two distinct matrilineal moieties of the Haida, the other being the Eagle clan.
Corey is a descendant of many great Haida carvers, including Louis Collison, John Robson and Charles Edenshaw. His mother Maxine Edgars from Massett is an exceptional weaver and his father Monte Stewart Burton is a fisherman and carver of gold and silver.
Sculpting and drawing from a young age while growing up in the Lower Mainland, Corey went on to graduate from the Langley Fine Arts School in 1996. He returned to his ancestral home of Haida Gwaii in 1999 to apprentice with his uncle, the master carver and artist Christian White. There he created masks, paddles and dance screens for the Massett and Skidegate dance groups as well as many steamed and painted bentwood boxes used for repatriation ceremonies. Corey has also worked with notable Haida carver Jim Hart and artist Sharon Hitchcock.
In 2012, Corey was featured in the travelling exhibition Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture curated by the Vancouver Art Gallery. In 2014, his successful solo show AKOS, which highlighted his background as a graffiti artist, was exhibited at the Bill Reid Gallery in Vancouver, BC. Corey is inspired by old pieces created by great Haida artists and other West Coast artists.
Corey Bulpitt, Raven, Graffiti Painting, Palos Verdes Art Center, September 2017
Kwakwaka'wakw - Coast Salish
Klatle-Bhi began his career by studying the works of his ancestors showcased in museums and galleries. He apprenticed with master carver Simon Dick for two years and credits a large part of his success to this opportunity. Klatle-Bhi has also worked with artists Beau Dick, Wayne Alfred, Wade Baker and Rick Harry, taking influence on their understanding of native art and culture.
He comes from a very traditionally rooted family where Squamish and Kwakwaka’wakw cultures are a large part of everyday life. Aside from his artwork, Klatle-Bhi aspires to maintain the languages, dances and songs of his ancestors.
Beau was one of the most creative and versatile Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw carvers of his generation. He was renowned for his mask carving as well as his contributions to the rebuilding of the present ‘Na̱mg̱is (Alert Bay) Big House.
Beau worked in many mediums and created works in many other Northwest Coast art styles. He was especially fond of the Tłingit style from Alaska due to their connection to his northern relatives. Beau was also a skilled artist in naturalistic art and portraits; he has carved many life-like carvings to represent certain nobility, whom are the center of theatrics during sacred Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw Winter Ceremonies.
Beau was an important contributor to the preservation of Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw art and culture. Many of his pieces represent ancient legends and serve to relay traditional stories into the present. As a historian and storyteller, Beau loved to share his knowledge with both native and non-native communities alike. While continuing to create works of his own, he assisted and mentored younger, up and coming artists, contributing to their artistic success. He was a well-respected Chief and upheld his name and status by giving Potlatches. Beau was also an initiated Hamat̕sa (Cannibal Dancer), the highest-ranking secret society of the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw.
Beau was involved in numerous solo exhibits and his work can be found in both private collections and public museums worldwide. One of his most well-known works is a transformation mask made for Expo ‘86, which is now in the Canadian Museum of Civilization, in Hull, Quebec. The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia also houses a large collection of Beau's work. He most recently contributed over twenty masks to documenta 14, one of the most significant events for the contemporary art world which features artists from around the globe. Sadly, Beau passed away one week before the exhibition's opening in Athens in April 2017.