Steve Smith



Artist Statement

Free To Be

The Potlatch ban is a travesty and a most unfortunate thing to have happened. So, to un-ban something that should not have been banned in the first place seems ironic…and yet here we are. Sixty seven years have gone by since the ‘unbanning’ of the Potlatch and with that for me, comes a chance to be able to create contemporary First NaQons artwork. I am fortunate to get to play with color, form line and shapes and to rearrange the artwork in a way that challenges the viewer to see it in a way they may not expect to see it.

To me, this painQng is an invitaQon to the viewer to just ‘be’ with the artwork. See the artwork and feel it in your heart. Let it rest there awhile before the thoughts in your head start to interpret what you are seeing.

Artist Bio

Steve Smith (Dla’kwagila) has been carving and painting since 1987. Initially taught by his father Harris Smith, in the Kwakwaka’wakw style, Steve has since developed his own distinct and innovative style. Steve’s pieces include original paintings, sculptures, masks, limited edition prints, etched glass, totem poles and drums. His cutting edge work has been featured in several major exhibitions throughout North America, and has been purchased by collectors around the world.

In 2005, Steve was featured in the ‘Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation 2’ exhibition that opened at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. In 2006, Steve created two public works for the City of Vancouver’s ‘Spirit Bears in the City’ project. In 2007, his work was included in the Burke Museum’s ‘In the Spirit of Our Ancestors’ exhibition, in Seattle. In 2008, Steve received two major commissions for works to be placed in the Vancouver International Airport. These monumental installations were completed in June 2009. Also in 2009, Steve was included in the ‘Challenging Traditions’ exhibition at Ontario’s McMichael Gallery, a show that was dedicated to exploring innovative and experimental works from the Northwest Coast. Steve’s work is continually evolving and he is always experimenting with form, colour and symbolism.