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Chance meeting results in First Nation exhibition

The First Nations art exhibition at the Four Seasons Resort this weekend is the result of a chance meeting and an intriguing conversation about skunk cabbage.



What: First Nations exhibition

Where: Four Seasons Resort, Ballroom

When: Sept. 4-5

The Four Seasons’ Resort Manager, Rudy Mack, said the idea for this exhibition was born when he met Vince Robinson, an attendant at a First Nations gift shop in Squamish, and asked him about the skunk cabbage plant.

Rather than just skip the details, Robinson gave Mack a "detailed history of the mythic qualities of the skunk cabbage."

Mack was impressed.

The result is that this Labour Day weekend there will be an exhibition featuring five First Nations artists from the Bella Coola region of B.C.

Mack said this exhibit will also be a test case.

In addition to the more established artists, 83-year-old Elsie Robinson, a well-known basket weaver from the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribe, will also have her work on display.

"I would really like to do a whole series of exhibitions," said Mack.

"But I need to do the first one and see where else I can go with it because I would like to get in touch with some of our First Nations in Whistler because this is our host city.

"Then we could do some of the First Nations artists from Squamish and Pemberton."

The artists participating in this weekend’s exhibition include:

Alvin Mack – wood carvings plus gold and silver jewelry.

Mack was born on Nov. 27, 1956 in Bella Coola, B.C., the last son of renowned carver William Mack, and his wife Elizabeth.

At the age of 13, inspired by his father, Alvin began to experiment with carving yellow cedar. In 1989, he established his home-based business, The Lightbringer Gallery, where he markets all his art creations. They range from yellow and red cedar carvings, masks, paddles, plaques, spoons, rattles, bowls, as well as bent wood boxes and totem poles, gold and silver jewellery, original traditional paintings and limited edition prints and clothing with traditional silk screen design.

Throughout his career Alvin has sought to further refine his traditional Nuxalk art. Alvin believes, that to be his true self, he must create works of art which please a wide audience.

James Mack – Native bronze jewelry and wood art of Bella Coola.

Hereditary chief of the Nuxalk Nation, James was born on July 28, 1952 in Bella Coola. In 1992, James graduated from the Kitanman School of North West Coast Indian Art in Hazelton, B.C.  Most recently, he has received his diploma in Jewellery Art and Design at Vancouver Community College, and completed a bronze casting sculpturing program at Capilano College. His greatest desire is to work towards a family-owned business and to transfer his knowledge and skills to the First Nation youth.

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