Gallery Artists > Robert Davidson Biography :

Robert Davidson (b. b. 1946)  Artworks >>

An important Canadian printmaker, painter, carver, sculptor, jewellery maker and educator, Robert Charles Davidson was born in Hydaberg, Alaska and currently divides his time between Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) and Vancouver, British Columbia. Davidson is an icon of Haida Art* and perhaps its greatest living Canadian artist. His awards include the Order of British Columbia (1995) and the Order of Canada (1996). His works are in numerous private and corporate collections, and hundreds of examples are in Canadian museums. His mediums include serigraph*, lithograph*, acrylic, watercolor, gouache*, graphite, ink, argillite*, aluminum, stone, wood, silver, gold, bronze, painted basketry, carved masks, totem poles, found objects, and mixed mediums. His subjects are faces, figures, animals, fish, birds, mythology, spirituality, symbolism and native legend. His style is Haida Art*. (2) Attached below are his biography courtesy of The Canadian Encyclopedia, his Order of British Columbia citation and his Order of Canada citation: Robert Charles Davidson, Haida artist (b at Hydaburg, Alaska 4 Nov 1946). Master carver, printmaker and jeweller, Robert Davidson is great-grandson and heir to the legacy of Charlie Edenshaw [see AskART]. Robert first learned carving from his grandfather, Robert Davidson, Sr. In 1966 he apprenticed to Bill Reid [see AskART] and the next year followed him to the Vancouver School of Art [c.1967 - 1970]. While a student, Davidson became an able instructor at the Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Native Art at Ksan, Hazelton, BC. He secured a grant to carve the 12m [about 40 ft] Bear Mother pole, his first, and the first totem pole to be carved and erected on Haida Gwaii in living memory of Haida elders. Innovation has accompanied maturity, and he has expanded the boundaries of Northwest Coast image and design in increasingly complex and unconventional serigraphs, jewellery and sculpture. In 1980, Robert hosted a monumental two-day potlatch dedicated to the "Tribute to the Living Haida" and adopted Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka, or West coast) artist, Joe David [as his brother]. Robert Davidson's 3 monumental totem poles, The Three Watchmen, erected in 1984 in the Maclean Hunter Building, Toronto, reflected the artist's deep personal commitment to innovative art, and to the evolving culture of the Haida people. In 1984, a large bronze Frog was commissioned for PepsiCo's sculpture garden in Purchase, NY. Raven Bringing Light to the World was another large bronze sculpture commissioned for the Canadian Museum of Civilization in 1986. That same year a second PepsiCo commission resulted in a three pole grouping, Three Variations of Killer Whale Myth. Often quoted and the subject of many articles, films, videos and books, Robert Davidson has brought international attention to Haida art. A retrospective of his long and distinguished career was celebrated in an exhibition, "Robert Davidson, Eagle of the Dawn," that traveled from the Vancouver Art Gallery to the Museum of Civilization in 1993. Commissioned by several private international collectors to do monumental work, Davidson has an ongoing commitment to the continuity of Haida culture in the Rainbow Creek Dancers - a contemporary dance troupe he founded - supplying them and the Haida community with masks and other objects used in potlatches. In 1992 he received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria. Author Carole Sheehan Courtesy of The Canadian Encyclopedia (online). Following is the Order of British Columbia citation: Haida artist Robert Davidson's remarkable prints, carvings and jewelry are known throughout the world. He has produced carvings for such centres as Montreal, Toronto, Tokyo, Dublin and Los Angeles. It is fitting that he receive this award at this time, following the major retrospectives of his work mounted by both the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Canadian Museum

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