This is Our Gift

This is our gift to each other, our fellow Canadians and the world.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many Nisga’a treasures left the Nass Valley. During the struggle for our treaty, Nisga’a elders and leaders fought to ensure this scattered legacy would find its way back home. Now, housed in a permanent place of honour, this treasury of Nisga’a culture ranks as one of the preeminent collections of Northwest Coast aboriginal art.

Anhooya’ahl Ga’angigatgum’ (the Ancestors’ Collection) is now open. This gathering of priceless artifacts — on display together for the first time — contains over 300 Nisga’a cultural treasures. You will be moved by the power and spirit encountered here.

We Nisga’a are leaders. Our art and culture tie us to this place. We have stories of wonder, tragedy, and triumph to tell.

Here, we will share them with the world.

The Nisga’a Museum will be showcasing a temporary exhibit Finding a Voice: The Art of Norman Tait This exhibition will highlight personal works created for the market by the artist. From masks, to pieces of jewelry, this exhibition strives to reflect a life devoted to art and the many mediums in which Tait has chosen to express himself.

Norman Tait (b. 1941) has been devoted to art since childhood. Imbued with a deep connection to his Nisga’a heritage and family, Tait has utilized his artistic gifts and transcended the quotidian to create the extraordinary. Self-taught, this self-critical and highly engaged artist has, over the past five decades researched and explored his Nation’s rich cultural heritage and forged a voice for himself that speaks through his myriad of sculptural and two dimensional works. This voice is driven by a passion to reinvent traditional narratives within a contemporary context and provide ways in which to connect his ancestral heritage to today’s fast paced and changing world.

Tait’s works can be found in private collections around the globe. Works in public hands include the Canadian Museum of History, University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology, Museum of Vancouver, Royal Collection, Heard Museum, and the Field Museum to name a few. The artist has been recognized for his contributions to visual arts through the Distinguished Artist Award - The Fund for the Arts on the North Shore (FANS) and a Lifetime Achievement Award by the British Columbia Creative Achievement Awards for First Nation’s Art. Exhibitions of Tait’s work in public art galleries and/or museums are few and far between. The first exhibition was held in 1977 at the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology. That show showcased work created between the years 1970 through to 1977. The solo exhibition of Tait’s work will be held at the Nisga’a Museum from May 30th to August 29th, 2015. This exhibition will subsequently be presented at the West Vancouver Museum later this year.