Author Tags: Aboriginal Authors
It’s one of the biggest books ever published in B.C., if not the biggest. At 960 pages, Native Art of the Northwest Coast: A History of Changing Ideas (UBC Press 2013, $195) spans 250 years of writing about Northwest Coast art. The excerpted texts from both published and unpublished sources, some not previously available in English, are arranged thematically. The editors are UBC history and visual arts professor Charlotte Townsend-Gault, Museum of Anthropology curator and anthropologist Jennifer Kramer and Nuuchaanulth historian and poet Ki-ke-in who has forty years experience as a speaker and ritualist. According to reviewer Michelle Paquette of the Frick Fine Arts Library in ARLIS/NA Reviews, “This work is an anthology, akin to improvisational jazz...embroidered around a core theme...but allowing every contributor remarkable latitude, creativity, and individuality. Subtitled "A history of changing ideas," it indeed questions many long-held assumptions in the field, and posits fresh notions on contemporaneity. It also works to suggest what might be appropriate, respectful, and well-informed means of appreciating, sharing, and studying ceremonial objects, and the Native Northwest cultures which imbued them with life...it is rare indeed that one encounters a book with the capacity to make the reader feel woefully uninformed, while simultaneously tempering with the unflinchingly illustrative personal narratives of Native elders, Haida manga, and thought-provoking arguments on cultural patrimony...to the degree that any criticism can be made of this volume, it would only be that its sheer size may deter the casual observer who sees it on a shelf. This would truly be a shame, since its wealth of information, multiplicity of perspectives, diversity of opinion, and review of historical literature make it a terrific resource for any library.” 9780774820493
Ki-Ke-in is more widely known as Ron Hamilton. Ki-ke-in's exhibition of his own and historical Nuu-chah-nulth ceremonial curtains at the University of British Columbia were used during part of the 2010 Vancouver Cultural Olympiad.
SEE RON HAMILTON
Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
Native Art of the Northwest Coast: A History of Changing Ideas