Exhibition highlights the legacy of an iconic Haida artist
By CHLOË LAI
“[Bill Reid] had this rich voice that was made for storytelling,” says Gwaai Edenshaw (pictured). “After dinner, he’d pull a book of poems off the shelf and read a passage.” Carver and multimedia artist Edenshaw is Reid’s last apprentice, and the guest curator behind To Speak With a Golden Voice at the Bill Reid Gallery (Apr. 22 to Oct. 4). The exhibition celebrates what would have been Reid’s 100th birthday, showcasing his work and drawing from the “intimidatingly large” pool of Northwest Coast artists influenced by the 1920-born master goldsmith, carver and sculptor. Artifacts include masterpieces by Robert Davidson and Beau Dick, specially commissioned sound-based works that integrate Reid’s voice, and a never-before-displayed paddle built during the making of his famed “Spirit of Haida Gwaii” sculpture.
“One of the biggest challenges is trying to narrow it down,” says Edenshaw. “There are so many things we’d like to do, and a hundredth birthday only comes around once.”