Bill Reid Gallery Announces Intangible: Innovative Exhibition to Draw from Past and Unfurl Future of Coast Salish Art 



Diverse collection to feature sculpture, hand-weaving, hip-hop performance art, multimedia installation, and more by artists from across Coast Salish territory


Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art announces its next major exhibition, Intangible, a collection of evocative and diverse Coast Salish works on display from September 13 – December 10, 2017. Influenced by ancestral teachings, six artists will reveal their contemporary creations – from vibrant blown-glass sculptures, and exquisite, copper jewelry, to experimental fibre textiles, and provocative multimedia works – as testament to the dynamic nature of Coast Salish culture and its transcending connections to history and place.

“The artistic traditions of the Coast Salish are diverse and driven by esoteric knowledge that is shared from one generation to the next, in continuous flux,” says Beth Carter, curator, Bill Reid Gallery. “Each artist featured at Intangible comes from a unique background. Some are primarily influenced by their respective lineages, while others have found inspiration from sources within and outside their immediate community. This fluidity of knowledge gathering opens the way for a wealth of new and exciting ideas to surface. As a result, the original works to be discovered by these emerging and established artists challenge pre-conceived notions of ‘Coast Salish art’, while referencing the techniques passed down for millennia.”

The Intangible project is led by Guest Curator Sharon Fortney, an Indigenous scholar of Klahoose and German ancestry. A specialist in Coast Salish material culture, Fortney has worked with renowned institutions, among which include the UBC Museum of Anthropology, the Museum of Vancouver, and Seattle Art Museum.

“This innovative exhibition alongside ancillary programming, which will further enrich the experience for visitors, aligns perfectly with the Bill Reid Gallery’s commitment to celebrate the living cultures of the Northwest Coast,” added Alexandra Montgomery, director, Bill Reid Gallery.

Intangible will feature previously crafted, as well as never-before-seen works from six trailblazing Coast Salish artists: 

Aaron Nelson-Moody (Tawx’sin Yexwulla), from the Squamish nation is a master jewelry-maker of intricate repoussé pieces, a skill he honed studying under local, celebrated craftsmen Dan Wallace Simeon, Phil Janzé, and with world-renowned designer/silversmith Valentin Yoktov in New York.

lessLIE (Leslie Sam) hails from the Cowichan tribes. While working in a number of mediums, he is best known for his intriguing serigraph prints. Often politically-charged, his creations invoke irony and humour through text inspired by Picasso’s words, “art is a lie that tells the truth.”

Marvin Oliver, an acclaimed Quinault / Isleta Pueblo sculptor, works in cedar, bronze, steel and glass. He is celebrated for his large-scale works such as the 26-ft suspended steel & glass installation, Mystical Journey, at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital. At Intangible, Oliver will present his latest blown-glass masterworks etched with bronze and photo prints.

Ostwelve (Ronnie Dean Harris) born in the Sto:lo Territory of BC (Fraser Valley) is a multi-media art practitioner fueled by a passion for filmmaking and hip-hop. As a performer, he has toured the world, opening for rappers Snoop Dogg and Coolio early in his career. He will debut a new work examining Salish land in the urban context.

Roxanne Charles, a member of the Semiahmoo First Nation in Surrey tackles Indigenous women’s issues through a variety of mediums including fibre weaving. Her monumental installations, and artistic concepts frequently incorporate performance and story-telling.

Tracy Williams (Sesemiya) is a talented, Squamish weaver, and traditionalist, who is not afraid to experiment or make mistakes while reclaiming lost knowledge. Through experimentation with plant, animal, and mineral components, she has recovered lost knowledge relating to weaving practices while addressing issues of land sovereignty. Sharing her practices with younger generations is a key aspect of her work; she is as comfortable in the classroom as she is on the land.

Intangible is proudly sponsored by The Audain Foundation. 

About Bill Reid Gallery (

The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art is a public gallery nestled in the heart of downtown Vancouver. It is named after acclaimed Haida artist Bill Reid (1920 – 1998), a master goldsmith, carver, sculptor, writer, broadcaster and spokesman.

Since opening its doors in May 2008, the Bill Reid Gallery has remained the only public gallery in Canada devoted to contemporary Indigenous Art of the Northwest Coast, and is home to the Simon Fraser University Bill Reid Collection, as well as special exhibitions of contemporary Indigenous Art of the Northwest Coast of North America. Through his art, Bill Reid continues to inspire emerging and established contemporary Indigenous artists of the Northwest Coast. His legacies include infusing the art traditions of the Haida with modern forms of expression, influencing the next generation of artists, and building lasting bridges between First Nations and other peoples.

The Bill Reid Gallery offers numerous educational programs for students of all ages, providing greater awareness and appreciation of Indigenous values and cultures, coupled with an understanding of how ancient knowledge can inform and impact their lives today.

The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art is an initiative of the Bill Reid Foundation. Established in 1999 as a non-profit charitable organization, the Foundation’s mission is to preserve the art and perpetuate the legacies of Bill Reid.



Bill Reid Gallery presents: Intangible



September 13 to December 10, 2017



Bill Reid Gallery

639 Hornby St.

Vancouver, BC, V6C 2G3



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