Lyle Wilson
Lyle Wilson

Oil on Canvas, 24 x 30, 1981
Lyle Wilson
1955-
Artist
Haisla

Lyle Wilson
  • Born at Butedale Cannery, in Kitimat, British Columbia.
  • Carver in residence at UBC Musuem of Anthropology in 2004.
  • 2009 Cultural Olympiad exhibitor.

“Sometimes people ask me if I am an Indian artist. ‘Yes,’ I reply, ‘I am an artist who happens to be Indian.’” - Lyle Wilson

“I belong to a generation of Natives that was raised with a core of Indian values, and has to contend with the powerful forces which shape life in the 20th century. Mentally, those two forces first created a conflict in me, then a recognition of wasted energy, and finally a fusion of identities…” - Lyle Wilson

Like one of his most revisited images, Raven releasing the daylight, the young Lyle Wilson in this portrait is highlighted by the glint of the bracelet he offers the viewer. Wilson had no strong cultural connection to his Haisla heritage growing up, but became interested in working with wood through a research project at UBC's Museum of Anthropology, reconstructing paintings on house fronts and boxes. He connected to First Nations composition and design on a personal level, an interest that led him to develop his own interpretations and transformations of traditional styles, using motifs and familiar materials in ways that challenge and reaffirm their beauty. Wilson's work in wood and metal features in the Museum of Anthropology — where he has served as artist in residence for many years — and in galleries around the Lower Mainland. He has produced several solo exhibitions, including North Star: The Art of Lyle Wilson for the Vancouver Cultural Olympiad in 2009.

For more information about First Nations in B.C., resources available at UBC, or information about these individuals, visit the Resources section.