Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Bill Reid Gallery Announces the Extension of Legacy Exhibition TO SPEAK WITH A GOLDEN VOICE

Originally set to close in April 2021, the exhibition will be extended until September 6, 2021.

Bill Reid Gallery Announces the Extension of Legacy Exhibition TO SPEAK WITH A GOLDEN VOICE

Due to popular demand, the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art announces the extension of the milestone exhibition To Speak With a Golden Voice - in celebration of the centennial birthday of Bill Reid (1920-1998) and his extraordinary life and legacy. Originally set to close in April 2021, the exhibition will be extended until September 6, 2021 and will include the addition of two new monumental artworks and the unveiling of an anticipated new book to commemorate the gallery's namesake in early May.

Guest curated by Gwaai Edenshaw - considered to be Reid's last apprentice - To Speak with a Golden Voice includes rarely seen treasures by Reid and works from artists such as Robert Davidson and Beau Dick, alongside new works created for the exhibition by contemporary artist Cori Savard (Haida) and singer-songwriter Kinnie Starr (Dutch/German/Mohawk and Irish ancestry).

"We're delighted that To Speak with a Golden Voice will have a longer life span - extended through the summer months ensuring increased access to this hugely popular exhibition in honour of our beloved namesake," says Beth Carter, Bill Reid Gallery Curator. "We look forward to welcoming new visitors and to welcoming back those patrons who experienced the exhibition, but are keen for a second visit and to view the newly added artworks as part of the exhibition's extension."

"Bill Reid was a master goldsmith, sculptor, community activist, and mentor whose lasting legacy and influence has been cemented by his fusion of Haida traditions with his own modernist aesthetic," says Gwaai Edenshaw, Guest Curator. "Just about every Northwest Coast artist working today has a connection or link to Reid. Before he became renowned for his artwork, he was a CBC radio announcer recognized for his memorable voice - in fact, one of Reid's many Haida names was Kihlguulins, or 'golden voice.' His role as a public figure helped him become a pivotal force in the resurgence of Northwest Coast art, introducing the world to its importance and empowering generations of artists."

To Speak With a Golden Voice provides new insights into the nuanced facets and creative complexities of Reid's life and legacy. The exhibition follows four thematic threads, beginning with Voice, a look at Reid's career at CBC and his prolific writings, including archival recordings of his thoughts on Northwest Coast art. Voice is central to the exhibition, including audio narratives, literary excerpts, and a commissioned sound-based artwork by Kinnie Starr that incorporates Reid's voice.

The second thread examines Reid's creative journey, or Process, which was affected by the many colonial policies still in place during the 1950s when he began exploring his heritage. The exhibition includes rarely seen sketchbooks, drawings, paper maquettes, casting molds, and works in progress from private and public collections.

The third thread is a study of Lineage, connecting Reid within a continuum of Haida artists, with works by Reid's contemporaries and the successors who considered him an influence. Artists include Robert Davidson, Beau Dick and Patrick McGuire, as well as others who never met Reid but found inspiration in his life and career. Haida artist Cori Savard created a new work based on Reid's deep-rooted impact on Indigenous and Haida art.

In the final thread of Legacy, Reid's multi-faceted and occasionally controversial life is given fresh perspective. Departing from the public persona and staid portrait of the artist, the exhibition provides new insights through the voices and stories of those who personally knew him. Short films featuring interviews with George Rammell, Don Yeomans, Rick Adkins, Chief 7idansuu James Hart, and more will be on display. A recent acquisition to the Bill Reid Gallery, on display for the first time with the announcement of the extension of To Speak with a Golden Voice, is the Eagle and Beaver Pole (1980), in red cedar by Haida carver Reg Davidson. Donated by Toni and Hildegard Cavelti, long time friends of Bill Reid, the pole will be on display in the Stanley W. Hamilton Pavilion. Additionally, an exquisitely carved cedar door - designed by Bill Reid and carved by James Hart in 1980 - will also make its first appearance for the exhibition extension. This monumental work, which stands roughly 3 metres tall, is a unique representation of the ancient story of Nanasimgit and the Whale.

To complement the milestone exhibition and to bring a fresh perspective to Bill Reid through the voices of his friends and family, the Bill Reid Gallery will unveil the anticipated commemorative book, 'Bill Reid, To Speak with a Golden Voice' at the official online book launch on Saturday, May 8 at 1pm. A selection of Reid's works and photographs with family, colleagues, and friends are artfully curated in the 84-page, full colour publication. Published by the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, the book is written by Gwaai Edenshaw and Beth Carter with contributions from Tyson Brown, Jisgang Nika Collison, and Dr. Martine Reid.

Reid was born in Victoria, BC, to a Haida mother and an American father with Scottish-German roots. He began exploring his Haida heritage at the age of 23, starting a journey of discovery that would last a lifetime. He studied jewelry making while working at CBC in Toronto, but it wasn't until a trip to Haida Gwaii in 1954 that his creative trajectory shifted irreversibly. His time on the island introduced him to the work of his great-great-uncle Charles Edenshaw (no relation to Gwaai Edenshaw), inspiring him to create new works out of his ancestor's sketches. Reid became known for making exquisitely detailed pieces, which were eventually translated into larger formats as he moved into monumental carvings. Some of his most iconic works today include Chief of the Undersea World, The Spirit of Haida Gwaii, and The Raven and the First Men.

For further information, to pre-book entry tickets, or to learn more about the online book launch on Saturday, May 8 at 1pm, visit: billreidgallery.ca.


Featured at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More

Related Articles View More Vancouver Stories

More Hot Stories For You