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Welcome Archway

Artists:
Xwalacktun, Rick Harry, Tawx’sin Yexwulla, Aaron Nelson-Moody, Ray Natraoro, Ses Siyam
Type: 
  • Sculpture
Medium(s): 
  • Wood
Status: In Place

Description

This carving features two house posts, and a large header beam that has been painted black, red, and white. Xwalacktun designed and carved it with Ray Natraoro and Aaron Nelson-Moody, and his younger brother Dale. It features a thunderbird and serpent, male and female.

Artist Statement

I wanted to educate people that this was one of the oldest villages in the old nation. I link the piece to when the great flood happened the community ended up on nch’kay (where the dirty water comes from – as it was always muddy), and after the great flood, people came back down to the villages. But some people who were adrift attached to Mt Baker, as the tides were moving in and out, and they even went as far as Olympia. Back then canoes were the highway.”

Xwalacktun, also known as Rick Harry, is a descendant of Squamish and Kwakwak’wakw ancestry. He creates native art that bridges the past, present, and future, echoing the traditions of his ancestors. With a deep spiritual connection, he collaborates with clients to infuse each piece with personal narratives, breathing life into his creations.

Specializing in Coast Salish style, Xwalacktun seamlessly blends tradition with contemporary expression, catering to a diverse clientele from individuals to corporations. His artworks transcend decoration, becoming cherished treasures and iconic landmarks.

He has adorned prestigious locations with his commissioned works, from intricately carved doors at B.C. Hydro and the University of Victoria First People’s House to striking sculptures at the Audan Museum in Whistler. His craftsmanship has earned accolades including the Georgie Award in 2002 and the Arthur G. Hayden Medal at the 31st Annual International Bridge Conference Awards.

Driven by a commitment to excellence and cultural preservation, Xwalacktun continues to push boundaries in native art, leaving an indelible mark on both the artistic landscape and the communities he serves.

Ray Natraoro (formerly Natrall) apprenticed under Kwakwaka’wakw artist, Simon Dick, and Coast Salish artists, Klatle-Bhi and Rick Harry.

Natraoro is deeply involved with the traditional culture of his people, teaching the Salish language and involving himself in the singing and dancing of his cultural heritage.

“I have been carving masks, totem poles, and model canoes since 1994. I learned to carve canoes from my late uncle. Canoe building can be traced back through five generations in my family. I have helped carve three race canoes, and in 1998 I was the Master Carver on a 37-foot sea-going canoe for my nation.” In addition to his carving, Natraoro has been creating many limited edition prints since 2007.

Aaron Nelson-Moody, or “Splash”, lives and works in the Capilano Village on the North Shore of Vancouver, British Columbia. These days he is working mainly on jewelry engraving and repousse, and still carves the larger houseposts and panels on commission.

While Aaron is his English name, he also has his Squamish Nation name, Tawx’sin Yexwulla, which translates as: Splashing Eagle, so most people know him simply as “Splash”. He also carries the name, Poolxtun, from his adopted father Gerry Oleman, which he tanslates as, ‘the spreading ripples from a splash of water’.

He has worked with community groups and students in a number of schools in the Squamish and Vancouver areas since 1995, as well as sharing in Japan and Scotland. He has recently been carving a housepost at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, and is currently working at Langara College teaching a Truth and Reconciliation based Aborignal carving cohort program.

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