Haida art is multi-dimensional, evident in the various forms and materials used, grass for weaving, wood for carving, metal and slate for carving.
Recurring design elements – passed from one generation to the next – are a hallmark of this ancient and unique art form.
For the Haida nature is, indelibly intertwined with life, the guiding force and inspiration for their art.
The oceans plays a profound part. Killer whales, sharks, sea lions, super-natural creatures such as Sea-wolf, are the motifs found on totem poles and other carvings.
Common among the Haida, along with other indigenous cultures, is a long-held tradition – teach your children the style and techniques of your art.
Christian White started carving when he was 14, under the tutelage of his dad, Morris White.
And that was the start of an exciting and excellent journey as an artist. At the age of 22, a sculpture of his, Raven Dancer, was bought for the permanent collection of the Museum of Anthropology at UBC in Vancouver.
His art is in the collections of Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec, the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, the Seattle Art Museum.
Collectors all over the world cherish their White pieces.
Christian’s style and approach has influenced many Haida artists. He also has established an apprenticeship program, ensuring a future for Haida art.
White’s totem poles are monumental – intricately carved with prominent Haida symbols and images.
Aside from totem poles, paintings and jewellery, White is best known for his argillite carvings.
Argillite is a fine sedimentary rock. The black variety only is found in Haida Gwaii, part of an archipelago off British Columbia’s West Coast, the Haida having exclusive rights to its use; carving with it for hundreds of years.
White’s argillite carvings are steeped in Haida tradition, bold, striking, impressive, the inlays intricate, delicate, masterpieces by a master artist.
Like many great artists he is versatile in what he produces – evident by this non-argillite piece.