Orca by Joe Wilson, Kwakwaka'wakw
by Joseph Wilson, Kwakwaka'wakw
silkscreen, edition of 150
23" long x 20" wide
Joseph Wilson (native name Hak’wesagame) is a member of the Northwest Coast 'Namgis tribe, which is located in the Kwakwaka’wakw territory. He is a grandson of Ethel and Chief Alvin Edgar Alfred (native name Udzistalis).
Born on January 14, 1966, Joe is a natural talent and a traditional carver of Kwakwaka’wakw masks, totem poles and other artifacts. From early childhood Joe loved to draw; and for his 12th birthday his sister, Deborah, registered Joe for a Native Art designing program run by Doug Cranmer.
Joe Wilson started carving more seriously at age 21, after being exposed to the work of Willie Seaweed, a deceased master carver. Together with Stephen Bruce, Joe worked with Ned Matilpi, Wayne Alfred and Beau Dick. From Wayne Alfred he learned cleanliness and being meticulous. Beau Dick showed him how to apply creativity and taught him about the freedom to experiment.
The Kwakwaka’wakw carvers Bob Harris and Bond Sound are Joe’s examples on how to be creative within the traditions of Northwest Coastal art. His challenge is to let the art come to life in his carvings and drawings. He explores the different schools of Kwakwaka’wakw styles. Through his family lines he’s also able to explore northern styles, West Coast styles and Nisga’a styles.
Joe’s inspiration to apply traditional styles and knowledge in his carvings derives from browsing through archives, such as the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, or the U’mista Cultural Society in Alert Bay. Joe has carved many artifacts which can be found in public and private collections in North America, Europe and Japan.