Skip to content

A closer look at 2023 Skeena Salmon Arts Show featured artist Erica Davis

Davis’ formline art blends ancestral inspiration with modern expressions

Erica Davis, a blossoming formline artist, began her exploration of the traditional art form in 2021, studying under the expert guidance of renowned instructor Arlene Ness. After undertaking a six-week online course, Davis began turning the ideas and concepts she had long harboured into tangible works of art, fusing ancestral inspirations with modern-day sentiments.

Though always captivated by the art of her forebears, Davis had been hesitant to delve into it without the right mentorship. Through Ness’ teaching, she found the clarity and connection she needed to bring her ideas to life.

In just a year, Davis made significant waves in the art world.

In 2022, Davis’ work was showcased in prominent exhibitions including the Northern Indigenous Perspectives exhibit at the Smithers Art Gallery and the Skeena Salmon Arts Show. She continues to narrate her stories via formline design, employing a range of mediums from digital tools to traditional pencil, paint, and canvas.

READ MORE: A closer look at 2023 Skeena Salmon Arts Show featured artist Alicia Taylor

Set to embark on her first academic year at the prestigious Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art in 2023, Davis proudly traces her lineage back to the Nisga’a and Helitsuk Nations. Her artistry is not just a pursuit of passion but also a journey to forge a deeper bond with her ancestral roots.

Art enthusiasts can find Davis’ pieces gracing the shelves of gift shops all over the northwest. Notable locations include the Nisga’a Museum, the Terrace Art Gallery, the Smithers Art Gallery, Red Raven, and the Sandpipers Boutique.

Commenting on Davis’ artistic ethos, an art critic remarked, “As an act of resilience, Erica breathes life into her artworks, embodying a fervent, protective love for the spiritual.

She masterfully intertwines nature’s elements with the threads of daily life, offering inspiration and insight in a time marked by transformation and profound self-introspection. Through her art, we find companionship on the shared journey of reconciliation.”

Erica Davis is not just an artist; she is a storyteller, a custodian of her heritage, and an emblem of hope in the path of reconciliation and understanding.

Davis’ work was on display at the Skeena Salmon Arts Show first at the Terrace Art Gallery and now in Kitimat at the Kitimat Museum & Archives from Sept. 8 to Oct. 7. It then moves to the Smithers Art Gallery from Oct. 10 to Nov. 11.

Erica Davis is one of a group of 2023 Skeena Salmon Arts Show artists being featured each week.

Viktor Elias joined the Terrace Standard in April 2023.

Tips or story ideas? (250) 638-7283 ext. 5411 or

Like the Terrace Standard on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.