VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – 2020 marks 100 years since the birth of legendary B.C. artist Bill Reid.
The Downtown Vancouver gallery that bears his name is marking the occasion with a new exhibition opening on Thursday, entitled “To Speak With a Golden Voice.”
It includes rarely seen treasures by Reid and works from artists he inspired.
It’s curated by Gwaai Edenshaw, widely considered to be Reid’s last apprentice. He says Reid was an artist that had a major impact on the art community.
“His influence is living on within all of us. Bill was a part of creating the language we all use to talk about the arts now, so it’s something that allowed us to elevate the art form in contemporary times,” he says. “He also really was a strict master in terms of adhering to the function of Haida art and that is something that remains and is key to the success of our art form in the world today.”
While Edenshaw reflects fondly on his time spent working with Reid, he does admit Reid wasn’t always easy to work for.
“It was hard. I think of it more like going to school, he took me out of school in order to do it but he would give me assignments which would typically be to copy a box design and then he would edit and talk me through my mistakes,” Edenshaw says. “Which is tough for a young mind to take on the ego, but I still follow that practice. I’m still finding his lessons and his language valuable.”
Edenshaw says he really wanted to show Reid’s personality.
“One of the things we wanted to express was his personality. While we have his great sculptural pieces on display, we have also got a lot of photographs, a lot of his tools, his pieces, and his in-process sketches. Those are some of the most exciting things for me.”
The “Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art” is located on Hornby Street in Downtown Vancouver and despite the COVID-19 pandemic, will still be open to the public.