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Exploring Haida Master Carvers

Story by
Nancy Joseph

For more than a decade, Robin Wright has led a summer tour to the Queen Charlotte Islands to explore Haida art and culture. This year, the tour will have a personal twist: the group will visit all sites mentioned in Wright’s new book, Northern Haida Master Carvers, recently nominated for a Washington State Book Award.

Book cover

Wright, curator of Native American art at the Burke Museum, has been studying Haida art for more than 20 years. Her book highlights the distinctive achievements of several important Northern Haida artists and analyzes the art historical developments and stylistic changes in pole carving.

Wright’s original focus was Haida’s most renowned carving family, the Edenshaw family (Haida spelling: 7idansuu). But her research led her to many other carvers as well.

“My goal has been to tell the story of who carved the poles but also why they carved them,” says Wright. “The story is bringing to life the context within which these monumental poles were carved.”

Northern Haida Master Carvers was published by University of Washington Press in 2001.