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Daily Art Moment: Haida artist

“The art of the peoples of the Northwest Coast is often represented by large-scale, heroic sculptural works, complex masks, and other regalia that represent and celebrate their clans. These works were created for communities and large audiences. This elegant wooden adze, however, was seen primarily by an audience of one: probably the Haida artist who carved the piece himself. The function of this tool was not improved by the addition of an animal head, likely a bear, with striking abalone shell inlay. But it probably gave pleasure to the user as he pursued the labor-intensive work of carving of large poles, canoes, or planks for house construction. Our selection on #IndigenousPeoplesDay is a tribute to those unnamed artists whose hands transformed ordinary objects into experiences of beauty.”

Kathleen Ash-Milby, Curator of Native American Art

Haida artist, Adze, ca. 1910. Wood and steatite with abalone shell inlay. The Elizabeth Cole Butler Collection, 2013.1.6, no known copyright restrictions