Support Talented Makers at the Bill Reid Gallery’s Indigenous Artisans Market

Interior of the Bill Reid Gallery in Vancouver

Photo: Sama Jim Canzian/Bill Reid Gallery

The Bill Reid Gallery will soon be holding their annual Indigenous Artisans Market, with a diverse range of creatives showcasing their work. In addition, the Market is the perfect opportunity to visit the Gallery and appreciate Indigenous Northwest Coast Art.

The Bill Reid Gallery, located in the heart of downtown, is truly a special place. This boutique gallery is devoted to the far-reaching legacy of Bill Reid, a master Haida artist who passed away nearly three decades ago. Both during his life and since, Reid has and continues to serve as an inspiration for Indigenous artists, shaping their rootedness in traditional practices as well as their contemporary innovations. The Gallery not only holds a collection of Reid’s masterworks, but also runs rich programming encompassing exhibitions on contemporary Indigenous Northwest Coast Art, educational programs and workshops, as well as an emerging artist program.

One yearly event is their Indigenous Artisans Market, taking place on June 15, 2024, from 11am to 4pm at the Gallery. You can expect makers who represent Nations from around the province. They each will be featuring work they have created in a range of mediums, such as print-making, clothing, beadwork, and cedar weaving. Artists in attendance include RavenSong Soap and Candle, beadwork jewelry maker Breanna Deis, and jeweler Smoll Raven. Check the Gallery events page for updates.

Admission to the Gallery includes access to the Market; the Market is complimentary to members as well as Indigenous peoples. As well, the Gallery has a promotion with Translink; if you show your Compass Card or proof of same-day fare, you get 2 for 1 admission.

Before or after browsing the market vendors, you can visit the Gallery’s three current exhibitions.

The first, The Sum Of All, has just launched and runs until September 8, 2024. This ground-breaking exhibition brings together works that examine Indigeneity and Blackness, spotlighting five artists: Amai Campbell-Kamangirira (Musqueam, Zimbabwean), Marion Jacobs (Squamish, Snuneymuwx, Bahamian), Monday May (Secwépemc, Es’ket + Ewe, Togo), Orene Askew (Squamish, African American), and Willie Lewis (Squamish, African American). Their artistry covers a range of mediums, including poetry, jewelry, dance, and film. The guest curator for this exhibition is Damara Jacobs Petersen (Squamish, Snuneymuwx, African American).

The Sum of All is infused with the idea of nch’ú7mut, which means “interconnectivity and oneness” in Squamish and “one love” in the Two-Spirit community. This Squamish idea of connection is put in conversation with the dual nature of Blackness, which brings together both the sum and absence of all colours. The exhibition is a reflective and dynamic collection of cultures and artistic practices.

The Sum of All is having a Cabaret Night ($20 per person) on June 1 from 7-9pm involving burlesque from Monday Blues and RainbowGlitz of Virago Nation and a set from DJ O Show. Peaches N Screams will be the MC for the night.

The second exhibition, GEORGE CLUTESI: ḥašaḥʔap / ʔaapḥii / ʕc̓ik  / ḥaaʔaksuqƛ / ʔiiḥmisʔap, is on until January 19, 2025, and honours and celebrates the life, work, and long-lasting impact of Nuu-chah-nulth artist George Clutesi. The subtitle of the exhibition is made up of Tseshaht words describing Clutesi: protective, generous, talented, strong willed, and treasured.

The exhibition evidences the richness of Clutesi’s legacy, containing a wealth of materials, including his artwork, a documentary film, news clippings, archival photographs, as well as works by contemporary Nuu-chah-nulth artists and scholars influenced by Clutesi.

George Clutesi, Two Figures, 1959
Watercolour on paper, 22 x 19 in
Courtesy of University of Victoria Legacy Art Galleries U989.4.

Finally, the Gallery is mounting the exhibition Formline Calligraphy: Bill Reid and Bob Reid’s Synergic Play, on until January 2025. Curated by Bill Reid’s widow, Martine Reid, the exhibition showcases works done in collaboration. Bob Reid was a calligrapher, printer, and book designer who was friends with Bill Reid for decades. Visitors can also view some of Bill Reid’s writing and works that have not been mounted publicly before.

For further information, visit the Bill Reid Gallery website.

Where to Shop for Indigenous Artisanal Work

Vancouver has numerous boutiques and galleries for purchasing Indigenous artisanal work.

For example, Wickaninnish Gallery, which is Indigenous-owned, is located on charming Granville Island. At the Gallery, you can browse a range of goods, including jewelry, prints, carvings, and gift items, made by well-known as well as emerging Indigenous artists.

The Museum of Anthropology at UBC is officially reopening June 13 at 5pm after completing seismic upgrades to its beloved Great Hall, as well as reworking some of its displays. The MOA’s gift shop contains a range of diverse work by Indigenous artists, including bentwood boxes, jewelry, carvings, apparel, prints, and more.

Detailed exterior view of the Great Hall at the Museum of Anthropology at
UBC as seismic upgrades near completion, April 2024. Photo by Brannen

Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery functions as both a gallery space as well as a boutique. The Gallery, which was established in 1996, contains First Nations and Inuit work, spanning an impressive array of mediums, such as beading, sculpture, textiles, and print-making.

The 3rd annual New West Craft Indigenous Market will take place June 8, 2024, from 11am to 5pm on the boardwalk in front of the River Market. Put on by Shop First Nations and Arts New West, the Market will involve live performances, food for purchase, as well as over 60 artisan vendors.

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