Bill Reid

Part of the Totems to Turquoise exhibition.

Renowned Canadian artist Bill Reid (1920–1998) was pivotal in introducing the arts of Northwest Coast peoples to the non-Native world. Growing up in Victoria, British Columbia, with his Haida mother and father of European descent, Reid learned little about his Native heritage. In his twenties he encountered the bracelets of Charles Edenshaw for the first time, and after that, he said, "the world was really not the same." Having studied Western jewelry techniques in Toronto, Reid began focusing on Haida art, studying Edenshaw and other Haida masters.

Famous for combining classic Haida formline style with Western techniques and influences, Reid created animal figures that breathe with the subtle qualities of life. He pushed his "deeply carved" pieces into three dimensions and brought mass and power into wearable artworks. Late in life, Reid and his apprentices reinterpreted smaller carvings as monumental public sculptures that today stand in prominent locations throughout the country; images of four pieces grace Canada's new $20 bill.

Bill Reid Foundation pieces are from the Bill Reid Collection, donated to the Foundation by Dr. Martine Reid, and with assistance from: the Government of Canada, W. Maurice and Mary M. Young, Milt and Fei Wong Family Foundation, Toni and Hildegard Cavelti, The Audain Foundation, the Province of British Columbia and other friends of the Bill Reid Foundation.