Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Biography of Bill Reid, Haida Contemporary Artist

Bill Reid ranks among Canada's finest artists, past or present. His works - finely crafted gold, platinum, silver, argillite, bronze, cedar, or ink on paper - are results of a diverse and magnificent talent, treasured by devoted collectors world-wide.

Bill Reid was born in Victoria, the son of a German-Scots-American father and a Haida mother. For 16 years he worked in broadcast journalism, including 10 years with CBC radio.

But the call to create was too strong to ignore. In 1951 he returned to the West Coast from Toronto, embarking on a creative journey lined with stunning jewelry, silkscreen prints, imposing totem poles, and massive monumental sculptures like "Killerwhale", which greets Vancouver Aquarium visitors, "The Raven and the First Men", at the UBC Museum of Anthropology and the "Spirit of Haida Gwaii" gracing the Canadian Embassy in Washington.

Bill Reid is often compared to The Raven of Haida legend, a mythical creature whose actions brought about significant changes to the world around him.

Today his art is in public and private collections around the world. Five Canadian universities have conferred honorary doctoral degrees on him and in 1986 he received the Bronfman Award for Excellence in the Crafts, and became an Officer of the Order of Canada.

In literally re-creating the art of the past, Bill Reid has shared with us the complex forms of his ancestors in a style proven truly outstanding in the art world.

Please click here to see the source document from the protocol and events branch of the Government of British Columbia.

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