First Nations art at Deer Lake Gallery

A father-and-son team of artists is presenting a new exhibition of contemporary First Nations art at Deer Lake Gallery this month.

Kukwits’men (father’s son) opens on Saturday, Jan. 21 and runs until Feb. 11 at the Burnaby Arts Council’s gallery.

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The exhibition features the work of Gigaemi Kukwits and his son, Zee Kwakwee Baker.

Both artists follow in the footsteps of the aboriginal art revival that happened after 1947 in Western Canada, led by well-known Kwaguilth artists such as Tony Hunt, Doug Cranmer and Beau Dick. With a growing collectors’ market for indigenous Canadian art, the art form expanded in the 1980s to embrace the full colour spectrum and a range of mediums that included ceramics, glass and clothing.

Kukwits and Baker are two generations of artists that have made that jump to expanded technique and colour palette.

A press release notes that Kukwits’ uniqueness and innovation lies in the originality of his gesture and palette.

“Coastal design elements that are traditionally stated as bold and contained within carved works become transformed into painterly movement via Kukwits’ sweeping, fluid brushstrokes,” the release says. “This fluidity is further emphasized by the vibrancy of his colour schemes and the syncopation of both warm and cool tones.”

Baker is a contemporary Northwest Coast multimedia artist and a member of the Squamish band.

“He incorporates all his world travels and experiences in his artistic traditional representation, with his expansive spiritual flow and visionary dream-like impressions,” the release says.

An opening ceremony for the exhibition is set for Saturday, Jan. 21 at noon, including First Nations song protocol, storytelling and drumming. A reception will follow.

Deer Lake Gallery is at 6584 Deer Lake Ave. and is open Tuesday to Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. It’s free. Call 604-298-7322 or see for information.

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