MIKE BELLIS, Haida Carver

COUNTING RINGS


January 31 – March 5, 2023

OPENING RECEPTION:  Saturday, February 4, 2023, 1-3pm

 

COUNTING RINGS

The cedar tree is entwined with every aspect of Haida culture. The relationship between the “Tree of Life” and my people is sacred, and a tradition of deep respect and reverence for all parts of the cedar tree goes back many thousands of years.

The life story of an ancient cedar tree is told in its wood. And so the cedar guides my storytelling, revealing what it wants to become in this incarnation. Will it be a totem pole, a canoe, a mask or a paddle? What unique characteristics in the wood that may otherwise be called a flaw, become the inspiration? Cedar speaks, and I respectfully listen. I work in both red and yellow cedar, and each offers distinct qualities.

Often the stories I tell with cedar are inspired by encounters with the natural world in my daily life as a charter boat Captain. Sometimes they are my interpretation of Haida myths and legends, and supernatural beings. Always the design elements are united by traditional Haida formline style. The legacy of my ancestors is a fire within that fuels my creativity.

It is an honour and a privilege to create in partnership with the supernatural spirit of cedar. Haw’aa (thank you)