“As we enter into high technology and the computer age we are becoming removed from the spirit of great craftsmanship. I am not trying to discredit the advancements that have been made in the name of technology, but to caution the lack of spirituality in these mediums.” – Robert Davidson
Available works range between $2,500 and $100,000
Kinsman Robinson is honoured to represent Robert Davidson for 25 years. Robert Davidson, C.M., O.B.C., D.F.A.(Hon), is the best-known living Haida artist in the world today. Being responsible for the rebirth of the Haida art form is no small feat. Single-handedly, Robert Davidson has changed the way we view and appreciate art from the Pacific Northwest. (The art form almost disappeared after the death of his great-grandfather, Charles Edenshaw, the last great Haida artist of the 19th century.) Robert Davidson creates artwork of exceptional mastery while he continually stretches the boundaries of Haida imagery.
Recipient of the Order of Canada, the Order of British Columbia and the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, Robert Davidson adds a new dimension to Haida art and culture through his sculpture, painting, printmaking, teaching and community leadership. The artist works on the Semiahmoo Reserve which straddles the Washington/British Columbia border and returns frequently to Haida Gwaii to refresh his spirit. “Fishing is an annual event in our lives,” said Robert, “and it really slows me down to the natural cycles of life, such as the tides and the return of the salmon, and makes me realize how fragile our whole existence is.”
TOP: Robert Davidson with guud san glans (Eagle of the Dawn), BOTTOM: Robert Davidson (right) with Paul Robinson looking at Supernatural Eye. Epoxy Powder-Coated Aluminum, 8 x 8 inches, 20.32 x 20.32 cm, Edition of 5, 2008. Price on request. Exhibited at McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Challenging Traditions: Contemporary First Nations Art of the Northwest Coast from June 27 – September 20, 2009.
When I look down the gunnel of a finely crafted dugout canoe of my Haida forefathers I cannot help but marvel at its beauty and function. Every care and expertise was put into this vessel to ensure its function and aesthetic appearance. This same thought and care is carried through all the domestic utensils such as bowls, spoons, paddles, woven baskets and hats. I take great pleasure and pride in the use of these objects.
I am blessed to come from such a culture. It has been a long road of confusion and uncertainty to regain some of these skills and qualities. When I look at objects created by other nations of the world, I cannot help but to marvel at the ingenuity and variety that we all have, in creating objects from the different mediums of each locale.
As we enter into high technology and the computer age we are becoming removed from the spirit of great craftsmanship. I am not trying to discredit the advancements that have been made in the name of technology, but to caution the lack of spirituality in these mediums.
I remain committed to creating finely crafted objects and to passing on the skills that will bring joy and pleasure to a world that is searching for its lost soul. Haida art has become very addictive to me. I feel that its possibilities are limitless, and I’ve chosen to stay within the art form for that reason.
We had art that was sacred, only brought out for certain ceremonies. We had art on permanent display validating our place in the world. The big challenge today is to give meaning to the art form, meaningful to us, so we can relate to it.
Since the almost complete destruction of our spirit, our disconnection from our values and beliefs, it is the art that is bringing us back to our roots.
American Museum of Natural History (New York City, New York); The Southwest Museum of the American Indian (Los Angeles, California); National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario); Canadian Museum of Civilization (Gatineau, Québec); Seattle Art Museum (Seattle, Washington); Vancouver Art Gallery (Vancouver, British Columbia); Museum of Anthropology University of British Columbia (Vancouver, British Columbia); Thunder Bay Art Gallery (Thunder Bay, Ontario); Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto, Ontario); Glenbow Museum (Calgary, Alberta); Royal British Columbia Museum (Victoria, British Columbia); Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture (Seattle, Washington); Vancouver Airport Authority (Vancouver, British Columbia); Catholic Church of Vancouver (Vancouver, British Columbia); Appleby College (Oakville, Ontario); Maclean-Hunter (Toronto, Ontario); Pepsico World Headquarters (Purchase, New York); Mr. & Mrs. Elvis Costello as well as other private collections.
2015 Robert Davidson: Progression of Form. Solo exhibition. Gordon Smith Gallery, North Vancouver, British Columbia. (May 22 – August 29, 2015)
2014 Abstract Impulse. Solo exhibition. National Museum of the North American Indian, New York City, New York. (April 10 – September 14, 2014)
2014 Abstract Impulse. Solo exhibition. Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington. (November 16, 2013 – February 16, 2014)
2011 The Art of Robert Davidson. Solo exhibition. Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington. (October 3 – November 22, 2011)
2010 Visions of British Columbia: A Landscape Manual. Group Exhibition. Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia.
2010 Haida Art — Mapping an Ancient Language. Group Exhibition. McCord Museum, Montréal, Québec. (Opened in Montréal, toured within Canada and closed July 2011)
2010 Eagle Transforming: The Prints of Robert Davidson. Solo exhibition. Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia. (Toured within Canada and the United States and closed September 2011)
2009 Challenging Traditions: Contemporary First Nations Art of the Northwest Coast. Group exhibition. McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinberg, Ontario. (Opened in Kleinberg, toured within Canada then Switzerland and closed Fall 2010)
2006 Raven Travelling — Two Centuries of Haida Art. Group exhibition. Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia.
2004 Robert Davidson: The Abstract Edge. Solo exhibition. Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia. (Opened in Vancouver, toured across Canada and closed at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario in 2007)
1998 Expanding The Circle: The Art of guud san glans. Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College, Portland, Oregon.
1993 Eagle of The Dawn. Opened at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver BC. Closed at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebéc.
1992 Robert Davidson — Recollections. Solo exhibition. Arthur Ross Gallery, University of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennysylvania.
AWARDS & HONORARY DEGREES
2012 The commemorative medal created to mark the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada. It honours significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.
2010 Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement
2010 Governor General’s Award in visual and media arts, Rideau Hall, Ottawa, Ontario
2008 City of Surrey’s Civic Treasure Award, Surrey, British Columbia
2007 British Columbia Aboriginal Art Lifetime Achievement Award, British Columbia Achievement Foundation, Vancouver, British Columbia
2007 Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia
2005 Vancouver Arts Award—Visual Arts Vancouver, Vancouver, British Columbia
2004 Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, British Columbia
2002 Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal
1998 Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree, Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design, Vancouver, British Columbia
1997 Honorary Doctor of Arts Degree, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas
1996 Order of Canada
1995 Order of British Columbia
1995 Interpretation Canada Award of Merit
1995 Certificate of Merit, City of Vancouver Book Award for ‘Eagle Transforming: The Art of Robert Davidson’
1995 National Aboriginal Achievement Award (now Inspire Award) for Art and Culture
1994 Doctor of Laws Degree, honoris causa Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia
1992 Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia
October 11, 2019. New film highlights the stunning artwork and activism of Indigenous trailblazer Robert Davidson, CBC by Jennifer Van Evra.
August 13, 2019. A Fine Day in Masset: Christopher Auchter Revisits Crucial Moment in Haida Renaissance, NFB Blog by Philip Lewis.
2014. Robert Davidson: Abstract Impulse, The New Yorker.
May 6 2010. Haida artist Davidson wins B.C.’s Audain Prize, CBC.
August 2, 1993. On the cutting edge: Robert Davidson leads a Haida renaissance, Macleans by Patricia Hluchy.
2014 Robert Davidson: Abstract Impulse, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington. (Link to Purchase)
2010 Visions of British Columbia: A Landscape Manuel, Douglas & McIntyre Books. (Link to Purchase)
2009 Four Decades: An Innocent Gesture, Self-published. (Link to Purchase)
2004 Robert Davidson: The Abstract Edge, Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, includes essay by Robert Houle. (Link to Purchase)
1999 Expanding the Circle: The Art of guud sans glans, Robert Davidson, University of Washington Press. (Link to Purchase)
1994 Eagle Transforming: The Art of Robert Davidson, University of Washington Press. (Link to Purchase)
1993 Eagle of the Dawn, University of Washington Press. (Link to Purchase)
September 2019, Robert Davidson tells us just how important a totem pole is on Haida Gwaii that went up 50 years ago…, CBC Radio Canada.
September 2019, The 50th anniversary of the raising of the Haida totem pole in Massett, CBC Radio Canada.
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