(1976 - 2020)
Ben’s Haida name is tlajang nang kingaas, meaning “the one who is known far away”. Ben was the son of internationally renowned Haida artist Robert Davidson. Ben drew on his traditional knowledge of Haida design to create innovative and unique contemporary pieces, which are sought after by discerning collectors from around the world. In addition, Ben has demonstrated a strong commitment to the future of Haida art by volunteering his time to work with younger artists.
Ben began carving at the age of 16 and has completed a four year apprenticeship program with Robert. Ben has also worked with his uncle, Reg Davidson as well as John Livingstone. He worked in three dimensional sculpture as well as two dimensional graphics. He also broadened his repertoire to the fields of jewelry and engraving. He opened his own gallery on Haida Gwaii in 2012.
His 2006 piece, a chief’s seat, was included in the exhibition Raven Traveling: Two Centuries of Haida Art that was at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Ben committed his career to the revival of Haida art and culture and mentored many younger students. He was also seriously involved with the traditional Haida dance group, the Rainbow Creek Dancers. His extensive experience as an original member of this group allowed him to explore the relationship between Haida art and culture further.
In their final collaboration, Ben helped his father with a commission for a 22-foot totem pole. Ben roughed out the pole – a skill he had learned from another artist, John Livingston. Ben had said he wanted to honour Mr. Livingston, who died last year, and honour his father for teaching him to carve. It was Robert Davidson’s commission, but it became a real family project; Ben started it in the spring of 2019 and Sara Davidson helped finish it this summer, doing much of the painting.