(1946 - Present, Nuu Chah Nulth)
The Inuit Gallery of Vancouver is pleased to introduce our feature artist, the iconic Joe David. Joe is a master carver and one of the most important proponents in the revival of traditional Nuu-Chah-Nulth carving and design.
Born in the village of Opitsaht, off the west coast of Vancouver Island, Joe is a member of the Tla O Qui Aht tribe. He began carving while living in Seattle, where he produced his first artworks upon seeing photographs of historic artifacts in local museums. In 1971, Joe was introduced to noted carver Duane Pasco and Northwest Coast art historian Professor Bill Holm; it was with their guidance that the artist developed a richer understanding of the formal design elements of Northwest Coast art. Pasco in particular encouraged Joe to focus on two-dimensional representation and to experiment within a variety of Northwest Coast styles.
In the decades since these formative experiences, Joe has become a master of Northwest Coast design. Fluent in both Nuu-Chah-Nulth traditions and the classical design practices of other groups on the Coast, Joe blends these styles into a distinctive and personal aesthetic that often reference his participation in ritual activities and significant events in his personal life.
Resounding in his artwork is a deep sincerity and dedication to his cultural heritage. Unencumbered by ostentatious details, Joe’s subtly beautiful creations draw focus to the harmony of form and line, and the relationship between rituals and objects. In an era defined by the constant barrage of stimuli, Joe’s sculptures and graphics are a welcome interlude from the cultural trappings that overwhelm the senses. Artfully conceived and meticulously crafted, each piece in this collection encourages contemplation. We invite you to take the time to view this collection in its entirety and appreciate the timeless art of Joe David.