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Gallery Location:

Gastown
312 Water Street
Vancouver BC
Canada V6B 1B6

P: 604.684.9222
E: art@coastalpeoples.com
 
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NEW ADDRESS AS OF APRIL 1ST, 2017
332 Water Street, Unit 200
Vancouver, BC V6B 1B6

Open Daily 10:00am - 6:00pm
Extended Hours 10:00am - 7:00pm (April 15 - October 15)
After hours: Open by appointment only

Closed: Christmas Day; Boxing Day; New Year's Day

Near Skytrain station - Waterfront

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Donald Svanvik

Kwakwaka'wakw Nation
 
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Donald Svanvik

Kwakwaka'wakw Nation
 

Donald Svanvik was born in 1958 in Alert Bay, a small island community on the northern coast of Vancouver Island. His father, Karl-Eric Svanvik came from Finland and he is of Swedish descent, and his mother, Alice Whonnock, was from Alert Bay.

His grandparents were imprisoned for participating in a potlatch in 1922, which was part of the strict enforcement of the anti-potlatch laws of the time. Many of the masks and ceremonial objects were confiscated and became part of the collection of several museums including the Canadian Museum of Civilization - many of the same objects have been returned to Alert Bay after the construction of the U’Mista Cultural Centre, in Alert Bay.

Don witnessed potlatches throughout his life. When he was twenty he began to take a more active role by assisting with the dancers and the overall preparation. He began carving ceremonial pieces and has received numerous commissions for masks to be danced at potlatches.

Don began carving in 1984 under the guidance of Beau Dick. His earliest influence was Sam Johnson, an elder and carver, who carved largely ceremonial pieces. He advised to carve anything you want as long as you know what it is and how it is used. Don has applied these guidelines to every piece that he carves. He has also worked with Wayne Alfred, Sandy Johnson, Bruce Alfred, Harold Alfred, Doug Cranmer and Calvin Hunt, on many commissioned pieces such as totem poles. The experience of working with so many artists has given Don a variety of different viewpoints towards approaching and understanding Kwakwaka’wakw art.


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