Framed Art Card - Heritage (9" x 12")
Artist: Andy Everson
Overlooking the Comox Valley, sits the majestic Comox Glacier. For residents of the Valley, the glacier is a symbol of our community and one of the physical features that make our area so beautiful. Recent reports have made it evident that the glacier is disappearing at an alarming rate and will likely be gone within my lifetime. The glacier is an important part of our community’s heritage.
For members of the Comox First Nation, the glacier has even more significance. According to stories passed down for countless generations, the glacier’s origins are intimately tied to our history.
Many thousands of years ago, an old chief was forewarned of the coming of a great flood. He was told by the Creator to prepare four canoes and great lengths of rope. He proceeded to pick the strongest and most attractive members of the community. When the flood came the selected people went into the canoes. Whenever non-selected individuals tried to enter a canoe, the craft would magically move away from them. The flood destroyed the village and the rest of its inhabitants.
The people in the canoes floated around for a while with no evidence of land in sight. Eventually, they spotted a large white whale. They attached their ropes to the whale. By the time the water receded, the whale landed on the sight of the glacier, keeping the Comox people in our territory. To this day we respect our Heritage and refer to the glacier as “Queneesh,” or white whale.
About The Artist
Andy Everson was born in Comox, BC in 1972 and named Na̱gedzi after his grandfather, the late Chief Andy Frank of the K’ómoks First Nation. Andy has also had the honour of being seated with the ‘Na̱mg̱is T̓sit̓sa̱ł'walag̱a̱me' name of Ḵ̓wa̱mxa̱laga̱lis I'nis. Influenced heavily by his grandmother, he has always been driven to uphold the traditions of both the K’ómoks and Kwakwa̱ka̱'wakw First Nations. In this regard, Andy has pursued avenues where he can sing traditional songs and perform ceremonial dances at potlatches and in a number of different dance groups, most notably the Le-La-La Dancers, the Gwa'wina Dancers and the K’umugwe Dancers.
Pursuing other areas of traditional culture has also led Andy to complete a Master’s degree in anthropology. Because the K’ómoks First Nation lies on the border between the larger Salish and Kwakwa̱ka̱'wakw realms, his thesis focused on notions and expressions of contemporary Comox identity. His work in anthropology provided him with a background in linguistics which subsequently inspired him to create a company, Copper Canoe, Inc, that specialized in the creation of Aboriginal language media.
Andy feels that his artwork stands on par with these other accomplishments. Although he began drawing Northwest Coast art at an early age, Andy's first serious attempt wasn’t until 1990 when he started designing and painting chilkat-style blankets for use in potlatch dancing. From these early self-taught lessons, he has tried to follow in the footsteps of his Kwakwa̱ka̱'wakw relatives in creating bold and unique representations that remain rooted in the age-old traditions of his ancestors. The ability to create and print most of his own work has allowed Andy to explore and express his ancestral artwork in a number of contemporary ways.