British Columbia native artist, Bill Reid (1920–1998), may well be the best and best known Haida artist in the world. I think his finest work is this piece entitled “Spirit of Haidi Gwaii”.
Haidi Gwaii is a chain of islands off the coast of northern British Columbia which were formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands. The native culture features a rich history of totem pole carvings.
This white plaster model can be found in the main hall inside the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa. The piece was subsequently cast in bronze and two copies are available, one outside the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. and the other at the International Terminal at Vancouver International Airport. I prefer this version because the details are much more evident in the white plaster. I wish Mr. Reid had carved it of white marble.
The Spirit of Haida Gwaii feature a traditional dug-out canoe six meters (20 feet) long filled with the creatures of Haida mythology. The passengers include the Raven, the Eagle, the Bear, the Mouse Woman and the Dogfish Woman. In the middle stands the Chief.
A richly detailed and imaginative masterpiece!
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