ABOUT BILL REID
Bill Reid (1920-1998), acclaimed Haida master goldsmith, carver, sculptor, writer and spokesman was one of Canada's greatest artists.
He was born to a Haida mother and a European father. While working as a broadcaster with the CBC in
Portrait of Bill Reid (posthumous) 2005
Oil on canvas 34" x 42" (86 cm x 106 cm)
Bill Reid Foundation Collection ©
Purchased with funds donated by Joseph Kovalik
For the next fifty years Reid embraced many art forms. He gradually explored his rich Haida cultural heritage, studying early ethnographic publications, museum collections, and surviving examples of strong works from Haida Gwaii, always trying to understand the logic behind the form.
Inspired by the deeply carved messages of the totems and the lush beauty of the Queen Charlottes, Reid would go on to create many powerful sculptural masterpieces. The Raven and the First Men, a native version of the birth of mankind, and The Spirit of Haida Gwaii, showcased at the Canadian Embassy in
Reid both celebrated and defended the Haida, using his fame to champion their land claims. When he died in 1998, the Haida took him home, bringing his remains back to his mother's ancestral village, Tanu, aboard Lootaas.
Reid created over 2000 works over his long career, from the monumentally small to the exquisitely huge. In addition, and perhaps of greater impact were his parallel careers as broadcaster, writer, poet, storyteller and communicator.
Bill Reid was the pivotal force in introducing to the world the great art traditions of the indigenous people of the
For more information on Bill Reid:
Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art
Under the dropdown "About Us," select "About Bill Reid"
Portrait of Bill Reid, circa 1970. Photographer unknown.