Raven Silver Brooch (Circular)
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Robert Davidson has worked as an artist and has produced an internationally acclaimed body of work for more than fifty years. His work is found in a number of private and public collections including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Canadian Museum of History in Hull, Quebec.
Davidson’s passion to perpetuate a variety of forms of Haida cultural expression, including song, dance and ceremony, has inspired his creativity ou throughout the years. He has been responsible for carving and raising the first totem pole in his hometown of Massett in nearly 90 years when he was just 22 years old. His inspiration was to give his elders a chance to celebrate culture in a way they had not been able to in their lifetimes.
Davidson was born November 4, 1946, to a notable family of artists. His great grandfather was the famed Haida artist, Charles Edenshaw (1839 - 1924) whose superb artworks were well known in the Haida community and also collected and displayed in showrooms internationally, during the era before Haida culture was painfully silenced by the government.
While he was growing up, Haida art had virtually disappeared from view in Massett. From an early age, Robert was surrounded by fine carving as both his father, Claude Davidson, and grandfather, Robert Davidson Sr. were respected carvers. Robert began carving at the age of 13 when his father insisted he carry on the family artistic tradition.
In 1965, Robert moved to Vancouver to complete his education at Point Grey Secondary School. This move allowed him to learn more about the arts of the Haida Nation, through visits to the Vancouver Museum to see stunning artworks collected from Haida Gwaii.
In 1966, while demonstrating his carving work at Eaton’s in Vancouver, Davidson met the late Bill Reid, who then coached him on sculpture and design for the next eighteen months. Through Reid, he met anthropologist Wilson Duff and artist Bill Holm, and continued to learn about the Haida art. In 1967 he enrolled in the Vancouver School of Art.
He has received many honors for his accomplishments, including an Inspire Award year 2000 for art and culture. He is an Order of British Columbia; an Order of Canada, the Governor General’s Award for Visual Arts, the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement Award in the Visual Arts, and numerous honorary degrees from universities in Canada and the U.S.
He is a leading figure in the resurgence of Haida art and culture and is a founding member of the Rainbow Creek Dancers with his brother and fellow artist, Reg Davidson.
In 2019 a film called "Haida Modern", was his life profile featuring his body of work in a film of Haida contemporary art and the paths he has taken to move the art to another level of modern art.