(1960 – Present, Kwakwaka’wakw)
David Neel was born in 1960 in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is a multi-media artist who first began working as a professional photographer in the United States for several years. Upon his return to Vancouver in 1987, David took up traditional Kwakwaka’wakw art and design. David’s father, Dave Neel Sr (1937 – 1961) and his mother, Ellen Neel (1916 – 1966) were both carvers, as was his great uncle Mungo Martin (1881- 1962). He apprenticed with Beau Dick and Wayne Alfred from 1987 to 1989 and also carefully studied various museum collections, deepening his knowledge and expanding his familiarity with traditional design. Beginning in the early nineties, David developed a highly personalized style influenced by traditional themes and imagery, but re-interpreted as political and social critiques. Several of his masks have been included in major international exhibitions, such as the 1999 Venice Biennale and the opening of Canada House in London, England. He also began producing limited edition prints that similarly reflected the influence of his Kwakwaka’wakw heritage and the modern state of First Nations peoples in Canada. David continues to work today in a wide variety of media, including photography, wood carving, jewellery, and more recently painting. His work can be found in major collections, such as the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Seattle Art Museum, and the UBC Museum of Anthropology. David continues to practice today, drawing from his diverse experiences and history and re-interpreting native art reflective of a new generation.