The Nisga’a Museum is exhibiting work from world-renowed Nisga’a artist and carver Norman Tait in what is only the second show of his work in his long career.
“Because he’s a storyteller, speaking in an authentic, distinctive Nisga’a voice Norman Tait’s style is like no other; unique yet respectful of the Tsimshian tradition that is his cultural foundation,” read details at the awarding to Tait of the 2012 BC Creative Lifetime Achievement Award for Aboriginal Art.
“Early influences – Freda Diesing (design), Gerry Marks (silver engraving) and his father, Josiah Tait (poles) – contributed to Norman becoming the foremost Nisga’a artist working in wood, precious metals and graphics.”
In addition, he has been recognized for his contributions to visual arts through the Distinguished Artist Award – The Fund for the Arts on the North Shore.
Tait, born in 1941 in the Nisga’a Nation community of Gingolx, is self-taught, researching and exploring his nation’s rich cultural heritage and forging his own voice that speaks thru his variety of sculptural and two-dimensional artwork.
The current exhibition highlights personal works created for the market by Tait.
His first exhibition, put on in November, 1977 at the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology included work between the years of 1970 and 1977.
The show at the Nisga’a Museum will present some of that work but will focus on his creations after 1980.
He has carved 39 totem poles to date, including ones for the Nisga’a Nation, the David Susuki Foundation in Japan, the Field Museum in Chicago, and the British Royal Family in London’s Bushy Park;
He has carved and raised five totem poles throughout the Metro Vancouver region including the University of British Columbia, Stanley Park, Capilano Mall and the Native Education Centre.
Tait’s work can be found in numerous private collections around the world and in public collections at the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology, Museum of Vancouver, Royal British Columbia Museum and the Canadian Museum of History.