Bill Henderson - Making Wood Talk
The Inuit Gallery has the honour to present the first solo exhibition of the work of master-carver Bill Henderson of the Kwakwaka’wakw nation of British Columbia. Born into the culturally devoted family of Sam and May Henderson of Campbell River, Bill has played a prominent role in innumerable group exhibitions. Perhaps not quite from his initial steps, as he began to carve alongside his father at age seven, but certainly for all of his adult life. Noted for his devotion to promoting the arts of the Kwakwaka’wakw through his teaching and mentoring efforts, Bill is known as a kind, generous and talented man. His contributions to the vitality of the renaissance of the Northwest Coast tradition of potlatch ceremonies has long been recognized, a significant element of which was his initiation into the sacred Hamatsa society in 1983.
Making Wood Talk is an apt title to represent the career of Bill. His masks, totems, panels and other creations have been celebrated, and enjoyed, in galleries and installations around the world as well as in their acquisition by collectors equally widespread. His art speaks to the immediate members of his community when they are used in time honoured ceremonies or, in the case of totems and large scale works, proudly declaring the heritage of the Kwakwaka’wakw. His work also speaks to a wider audience of individuals, both far and near, who respond to his instantly recognizable, exuberant style. The traditions of his ancestors are always at the forefront of his creations in red and yellow cedar, whether in an intimate mask or a monumental totem, the past speaking to the present and the future.
Please join with us in celebrating Bill Henderson’s artistry in Making Wood Talk.