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Robert Davidson CM OBC

Photo of Robert Davidson CM OBCRobert Charles Davidson, CM, OBC (born 4 November 1946 in Hydaburg, Alaska), is a Canadian artist of Haida heritage. His specialties are in carving (such as totem poles and masks), sculpture and painting.

His parents are Claude and Vivian Davidson and, through Claude, he is the grandson of the Haida artist and memoirist Florence Davidson. He is a member of the Eagle moiety, Ts'ał'lanas lineage. In infancy, he moved to the Haida village of Masset, British Columbia, on Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands). For high school, he moved to Vancouver to attend Point Grey Secondary School in 1965. In 1966 he became apprenticed to the master Haida carver Bill Reid. In 1967 he began studies at the Vancouver School of Art. In 1969 he raised the first totem pole on Haida Gwaii in approximately ninety years.

Davidson, known internationally as a carver of totem poles and masks, printmaker, painter and jeweller, has become a leading figure in the renaissance of Haida art and culture. Today he lives near Vancouver, working out of a studio on Semiahmoo First Nation land and making annual return visits to Haida Gwaii.

Some of his works were featured at the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

The first major public exhibition in ten years, Robert Davidson: The Abstract Edge was organized by the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia (UBC) for viewing at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa in 2007.

His 1993 exhibition, “Eagle of the Dawn”, at the Vancouver Art Gallery was the largest solo exhibition of any Northwest Coast artist, and spanned four decades of artistic achievement. In 2004, his solo exhibition, “The Abstract Edge” premiered at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC and then also toured nationally. This exhibition unveiled a contemporary direction and focused strictly on his personal interpretation of Haida design. His work has been a necessary part of all major exhibitions and publications of contemporary Northwest Coast art. With the release of “Four Decades: An Innocent Gesture”, there are now five publications on his art and career. In addition, Robert has initiated many projects and events dedicated to the preservation of Haida language, culture, and ceremony, as well as his ceaseless support of the art.

His younger brother and former apprentice, Reg Davidson, is also a Haida carver.

Robert Davidson CM OBC: Seawolf Inside Its Own Dorsal Fin  86/99 - 1983
Seawolf Inside Its Own Dorsal Fin 86/99 - 1983
43 x 31 in.   Print Media

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