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Wolves at the Door: Joe David

Inuit Gallery, Vancouver
Dec 1, 2001 - Dec 31, 2001


Joe David, Wolf Headress (2001),
red cedar, cedar bark, paint

Joe David is well-established as a prominent Northwest Coast First Nations painter and carver as well as a singer and dancer. In his first solo exhibition, the Inuit Gallery presents a range of his works from traditional ceremonial artefacts and carvings to contemporary graphics that he says represent his "wilder" side.

David's work, which is inspired by his personal experiences and spiritual beliefs, will resonate with many people. He is particularly recognized for his achievements in reviving the traditional Tlo-o-qui-aht designs of his tribe and for integrating other Northwest Coast tribal emblems and techniques with his own free style. The result has been a prolific output of imagery in the form of prints, headdresses, masks, rattles and paintings.

His most important family crest is the Wolf, the featured symbol of this exhibition. David himself was given a First Nations name meaning Supernatural White Wolf Transforming into Killer Whale by his father when he was 22. From the Nitinat side of his family, the Blue Star is another important motif. David was adopted by the Haida family of Robert Davidson in 1981, leading to the incorporation of the killer whale and thunderbird in his work.

© Mia Johnson