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Robert Davidson

Arts and Culture (1995)

Robert Davidson is an artist, dancer and songwriter who has led the artistic and cultural renaissance of the people of Haida Gwaii.  Robert’s artistic career has spanned thirty years with important exhibitions at UBC’s Museum of Anthropology, the Faschewerk Gallery in Bad Salzuflen, Germany, the Art Space Gallery in Philadelphia, and the Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania.  In 1993, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Museum of Civilization mounted his most important retrospective entitled, “Robert Davidson:  Eagle of the Dawn” that received critical acclaim.  Robert was born in 1946 in his mother’s village of Hydaburg in Alaska, and grew up in his father’s village, Old Massett on Haida Gwaii in the Queen Charlotte Islands in BC.  He began carving at the age of thirteen, attended Point Grey Secondary School and the Vancouver School of Art.  In 1966, he met Bill Reid and completed and 18-month apprenticeship, learning Haida design principles, as well as gold and silver engraving.  He taught carving at the Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art and has continue to teach over his vast career.  Robert has Honourary Doctorates from the University of Victoria and from Simon Frazer University.  As successful as he has become, Robert has managed to serve both his remote homeland and Haida Gwaii, and a very demanding Canadian public.