Two-spirited Wet’suwet’en and Chilean artist Satsi Naziel, one of the many artists to have pieces shown in this year’s Skeena Salmon Arts Show, has become a prominent voice in the world of Northwest Coast art, channeling a rich heritage and complex history into pieces that resonate deeply with audiences.
Born in the Bulkley Valley, Naziel has invested time and energy into connecting with the Yintah, the traditional land of the Wet’suwet’en.
It’s a vital component of Naziel’s work, infusing art with a profound sense of identity, healing and pride.
Naziel’s artistic journey has been lifelong, practicing Northwest Coast art since 2020. The art form has allowed Naziel to explore passion, inspiration and dreams, spreading a unique message of reconnection and recovery.
According to Naziel, Northwest Coast art is an essential aspect of Wet’suwet’en culture, a way of “bringing back the spirit of their nations’ people piece-by-piece.”
Naziel’s work is more than an artistic expression; it’s a process of healing, a way to “become their ancestors’ wildest dreams through decolonization and reclaim everything that makes them strong and beautiful.”
“The Wet’suwet’en consensually traded with other nations for the use of crests, the learning of art forms, and hired other nations to create totem poles for our communities,” Naziel said.
“Northwest Coast art has been an integral part of forming alliances with other nations. Today, it brings a sense of identity and healing. Youth, adults, and elders can see and feel where we come from and feel proud in their hearts that we are still here.”
This year, the show is at the Terrace Art Gallery until Aug. 31, at the Kitimat Museum & Archives from Sept. 8 to Oct. 7 and at the Smithers Art Gallery from Oct. 10 to Nov. 11.
The Terrace Art Gallery is located in the basement of the Terrace Public Library, at 4610 Park Ave., and is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Satsi Naziel 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.