Tim Paul: Humwitsa:
Stories and Teachings
Alcheringa Gallery, Victoria
July 24 - August
Sea, Chief and Whale (1997),
red cedar and paint
ALCHERINGA GALLERY is presenting
the first solo exhibition of work by Hesquiat artist Tim
Paul. Paul has been a senior carver at the Royal British
Columbia Museum in Victoria for more than 20 years, and is
known for his silkscreen prints depicting the legends of his
nation, the Nuu-Chah-Nulth.
Paul's Hesquiat homeland is on the rugged, heavily
forested coastline of British Columbia near Nootka Sound,
where, for centuries, a seasonal structure of fishing,
hunting and gathering has provided a framework for cultural
activities. Like other First Nations cultures on the West
Coast, spirits of the land, sea and sky are omnipresent in
Nuu-Chah-Nulth rituals, ceremonies and art.
Paul's carvings are characterized by the bright, almost
neon-colored acrylic paint used by 20th Century
Nuu-Chah-Nulth artisans, as well with by their atypical mix
of geometry with naturalism. For example, in the simple,
round moon mask entitled "Ma Nul," the heads of stylized
spirit creatures decorate the forehead at an oblique angle.
The bodies are cropped by the top rim of the disk, which is
embellished with an upright row of rounded feathers. The
main facial features, beginning halfway down the mask,
include a dramatic blue paint pattern at cheek level.