Bill Reid is one of Canada’s greatest artists of the 20th century. Goldsmith-turned-sculptor, carver, writer, – he was truly a renaissance man. In a long career, he embraced many art forms, driven always by a passion to create the “well-made object”. This passion combined with a gradual discovery of his rich Haida cultural heritage informed and inspired his development as a visual artist of tremendous power and brilliant accomplishment.
Born in 1920, a Canadian of a Haida mother and a father of European descent, he was brought up and lived most of his life in British Columbia. When he died in March 1998, he left a legacy of magnificent works of art from the most intricate to the monumental, – in woodcarving, exquisite jewellery, beautiful prints, and massive sculptures.
Bill Reid was the pivotal force in introducing to the world the great art traditions of the indigenous people of the Northwest Coast of North America. His legacies include infusing that tradition with modern ideas and forms of expression, influencing emerging artists, and building lasting bridges between First Nations and other people.
Image:The Raven and the First Men
Bill McLennan: University of British Columbia Museum of Anthroplogy from Canadian Museum of History