A couple of beautiful books are important records of Northwest Coast art.

The Transforming Image is a museum in your hands and Glory and Exile celebrates Jut-ke-Nay Hazel Wilson’s telling of Haida history through 51 “story robes.”

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Mandy Ginson, Associate Curator of Collections at the Vancouver Art Gallery said the new book Echoes of the Supernatural: The Graphic Art of robert davidson was an inspiration for the new VAG show Guud sans glans Robert Davidson: a line that bends but does not break which opens on November 26.

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“We started thinking about Robert because there’s a book coming out at the same time,” Ginson said.

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Gary Wyatt’s book and davidson by Figure1 Publishing in collaboration with the VAG, is an impressive and interesting collection of Davidson’s prints, paintings and drawings. Along with the art are detailed descriptions and insights from Davidson.

Weather echoes of the supernatural is an impressive standout, it’s not alone on BC’s list of interesting and historically important recent books focused on Northwest Coast art.

Below is a quick rundown of a handful of other books that cater not only to the keen collector and focused history buff, but also to the curious reader interested in learning more about the rich and brilliant culture of the Northwest Coast.

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The Transforming Image, 2Ed: Painted Arts of the First Nations of the Northwest Coast

Bill McLennan and Karen Duffek

In the 22 years since it was first published, The Transforming Image has become both a reference guide for scholars and a textbook for artists seeking historical context and raw inspiration from its hundreds upon hundreds of images.

Based on work done by the Anthropology Museum’s Image Recovery Project, this updated second edition is like a visual archaeological dig combined with open entry to museums around the world.

“The intention was to build a visual database so that artists could have access to these images. Because even if you could travel to many of those museums, these boxed paintings were often covered in this layer of patina of age and dirt that obscured the images, so infrared photography (taken by the late McLennan) helped reveal them again. said Duffek, Curator of Contemporary Visual Arts and Museum of Anthropology of the Pacific Northwest.

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Not only is it important to view the pieces, but having so many images side by side means an easier way to not only access the art but also compare it.

“I’m very excited by what Bill McLennan and Karen Duffek did,” Davidson said of The Transforming Image. “It has made art accessible to the student. When she was studying art she went to museums in Ottawa, in New York, Chicago. Not many emerging artists have that luxury. Having this encyclopedia of images will certainly accelerate your career.”

Glory and Exile: Haida History Robes of Jut-ke-Nay Hazel Wilson

Robert Kardosh, Robin Laurence, Kun Jaad, Dana Simeon

The Robes of History in this case are 51-button robes/blankets filled with landscapes and figures illustrating the contact story of the Haida as told through the perspective of Wilson’s own people.

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“It’s that 300-year history and it’s presented within his family’s knowledge of Haida history, so it’s part of a bigger story,” said Kardosh, who is the director of the Marion Scott Gallery that represented Wilson. for decades until his death in 2016 at the age. 74.

“This is the first time, as far as I know, that a Haida artist in any form has told that story with this kind of scope and the fact that they did it with button blankets or ceremonial robes is the other side that is very interesting. .”

“She wanted her robes to be derived from the stories she heard as a child, from her aunts and her parents and uncles. Haida is an oral culture,” Kardosh added. “That’s where she came from, and because she made tunics with buttons, she decided to find a way to use that shape to tell these stories and preserve them.”

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The book uses Wilson’s own words and even his own handwriting.

“When she would come in, she would tell me what the robes represented and I would take notes, but pretty quickly in the whole process she decided she would write her own descriptions,” Kardosh said, adding that she wrote something for each robe. “We didn’t know at the time that she was telling a whole story.”

To date, the historical robes have not been displayed to the public.

“It’s huge, but at some point, I hope there’s a show of these works and people can really see them all together.

But for now, the book is a great way to see and appreciate the scope of Wilson’s work.

Where the Power Is: Indigenous Perspectives on Northwest Coast Art

Karen Duffek, Bill McLennan, and Jordan Wilson

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Winning the 2022 Vancouver Book Award, this book brings together more than 80 First Nations elders, artists, scholars, and other community members with significant and extraordinary works of Northwest Coast historical art.

These indigenous knowledge holders visited the Museum of Anthropology and connected with objects created by ancestors. And yes, the fact that these objects are in a museum emerges as the book analyzes and questions the relationships between museums, indigenous communities, and settler institutions now and in the future.

“This is an excellent title, as it is not simply a book on the historic art of the Northwest Coast, but a thoughtful compilation of contributors whose knowledge of indigenous history, culture, and lived experiences reshape our understanding of the complicated and complex history of colonialism. art and museum situated on the unceded territory of the Musqueam people,” said Allan Cho, one of the 2022 Vancouver Book Prize judges.

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