Coast Salish - Upper Nicola Band
About Gerry Sheena:
I am a West Coast Indigenous Carver living in Vancouver, BC. For three decades, I have been producing a variety of large and small scale wood carvings; exhibiting and selling my work in galleries across Canada and the US. I am passionate about community-engaged art projects, where I mentor youth in the art of carving, following cultural practices and sharing knowledge.
Chloe Angus and Gerry Sheena working on the Eternal Connection Spirit Wraps
Carving was almost a lost art because of historical events. I struggled to find teachers to help me build my skills, leaving me to study and teach myself. This has given me a great appreciation of the art and a strong desire to pass on my knowledge and skills to others. My passion is working in a community setting and mentoring youth. I feel it is important to teach so that we can preserve the cultural art for many generations to come.
I am deeply influenced by the struggles and success of our indigenous animals. I like to incorporate salmon into my work because man, animals and plants rely on them for sustenance. The pollution in our waters along with overfishing leaves me thinking and worrying about the future of the salmon. I honour the salmon by depicting them with west coast animals that is vital to our survival.
Growing up on the West Coast, being influenced by artists like Susan Point, Robert Davidson, Beau Dick and Bill Reid. What makes my work unique is that I mix traditional form with contemporary Coast Salish design. Many people have commented that my work has a gentle spirit and positive energy flowing out of it. My work is well received by collectors and art enthusiasts throughout North America.
"I have always been a fan of fashion. I've always flirted with the idea of becoming a fashion designer, but my path took a different turn. But in the end here I am. With Chloe the fashion designer, featuring my designs."