Framed Art Card - Northern Spirit (9" x 12")
Artist: Andy Everson
As is fairly typical on the coast, I have numerous connections to many different First Nations. Although I consider myself Kwakiutl and K’omoks first and foremost, I also feel that I must pay respect to the many ties to other territories that I have. To the north of our territory, we find the land of the Nuxalk, Heiltsuk, Xaisla, Haida, Tsimshian, Nisga’a and Tlingit. With almost every one of these, I can list threads that bind us together—whether through common ancestry or intermarriage.
Recently, I was approached by the BC Lions Society to paint a bear for the Spirit Bears in the City project. Although this bear is not a recognizable figure in Kwakwaka’wakw culture, I felt the need to honour my Northern relatives. It is my hope that “Healing Spirit” captured some of the power, pride and authority of the north.
Creating a tiny chilkat blanket design for some cuddly spirit bears and the opportunity to work with my friend and author, David Bouchard, provided me with enough impetus to once again draw inspiration from the north. Although I may never see one in person, the Kermode, or spirit bear is a mystical creature. A rare genetic occurrence allows about 1 in every 10 black bears to have white fur. What makes this even more rare is that this only occurs along the central coast of British Columbia. Currently there is a movement to protect and adopt the spirit bear as a symbol of BC. Sharing the territory with my northern relatives since time immemorial, Kermode bears clearly reflect a “Northern Spirit.”
About The Artist
Andy Everson was born in Comox B.C. in 1972 and named Nagedzi after his grandfather, Chief Andy Frank. His cultural interests lay with both his Comox and Kwakwaka'wakw ancestries and are expressed through dancing, singing, and even the pursuit of a Master's degree in anthropology. Andy feels that my artwork stands on par with these other accomplishments.
Although he began drawing Northwest Coast art at an early age, his 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 m Kwakiutl relatives in creating bold and unique representations that remain rooted in the age-old traditions of his ancestors.