Norma has been active in the regional arts community since 1994, programming and producing a number of events linked with many local arts organizations. In addition to her involvement with the arts, Norma has worked with the seven communities in Clayoquot and Barkley Sounds as the CEO and Executive Director for a regional federal program (Natural Resources Canada). While serving as the president of the local arts council, Norma founded the Carving on the Edge Festival in 2010 and served as the festival coordinator and administrator over the next six festivals.
Marilyn headed West to Tofino on retirement from a 23 year stint as Director of Community and Educational programming at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre for the Arts. On arrival in Tofino, she joined the local arts society, eventually serving as President, during which time she produced a series of summer music festivals and promoted the idea of establishing a west coast carving event. Following her move to Victoria, Marilyn continues to return to the coast, programming the popular West Coast Music series until 2015. She is a founding member of the festival & society.
Joe David is one of the most respected master artists of the Northwest Coast. He originally studied art in Seattle, but his interest in his own heritage and tradition led him to begin an intensive study of traditional Northwest Coast objects. He has always been drawn to the spiritual essence within Indigenous art practice and culture—and this later directed his path in art-making. In 2000, he was the first artist chosen for the Aboriginal Artist in Residence program at the Pilchuck Glass School. He is often requested by schools and institutions to lecture on Northwest Coast art. Joe is a founding member of the festival & society.
Robin Rorick is descended from the Yahgulannaas Raven clan of the Haida nation. His work ranges from large scale cedar carving, limited edition prints, drums, paintings on spruce root weavings and ceremonial items. In 2017, Robin received the Reveal Indigenous Art Award from the Hnatyshyn Foundation. Robin currently has work displayed in the exhibition, “Ancestral Connections” at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York. He also has work on display in “Haida Now” at the Museum of Vancouver. Robin is the father of two children and is married to Hesquiaht language activist chuutsqa Rorick.
Joe Martin has been dedicated to mastering the art of traditional ƛaʔuukʷiatḥ (Tla-o-qui-aht) canoe carving for decades. He has sparked a revitalization of this ancient art form in his own community and among neighbouring nations in the Pacific Northwest. Taught by his father, the late Chief Robert Martin, Joe has continued to transfer his knowledge to future generations, taking on apprentices and leaving a legacy of over 70 carved canoes. Joe has been formally recognized for his incredible contributions to the artistic community – in 2013 he received a BC Creative Achievement Awards for First Nations’ Art and in 2012 he received a BC Community Achievement Award.
Gordon Dick is a Tseshaht/Nuu-chah-nulth artist who grew up in Port Alberni, where he continues to live. Gordon is a Master Carver, jewellery maker, designer and producer of large scale woodcarvings. He has a deep respect for nature and in his art he works towards striking a balance between influencing the material and having the material influence him. His art is shaped by his values which were taught to him as the values of his culture: To be connected to the environment, to value the language of nature and to pay attention to its teachings. "As humans we share our lives on the planet with other living creatures. So the presence of animals and supernatural beings feature strongly in my work. We cannot know everything there is to know and there is a larger force connecting everything together."
Christopher is the founder of Marketworks, a digital marketing agency for good. In his community and volunteer work, he is the Vice-President and co-founding member of The Natural Burial Co-operative and is the founder of the award winning Salt Spring Exchange, an online community for the residents of Salt Spring Island, BC where he lives. He is an apprentice chaputz (canoe) carver with Tla-o-qui-aht Master Carver Joe Martin and focuses his personal carving work on ceremonial feast bowls. Christopher has been a Board Member of the festival since 2014.
Tim is a master carver and accomplished artist, and an integral part of the cultural fabric of Nuu-chah-nulth. He is an activist, artistic collaborator, cultural knowledge keeper and holder, and environmentalist. Born in 1950 in the isolated village of Esperanza Inlet, north of Tofino on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, he began carving in 1975 under the direction of Ben Andrews and later with John Livingston at the Arts of the Raven studio in Victoria, BC. Tim held the position of senior carver at the Royal British Columbia Museum from 1984-92. Tim sought out time with elders and teachers to record some of their cultural and Nuu-chah-nulth linguistic knowledge. As a career artist he has carved many prestigious totem poles and cultural commissions in and outside Canada, including his current project: a language revitalization pole in Port Alberni. He is a co-founder of the festival.
Marika Swan is a Tla-o- qui-aht woodcut printer, carver and community arts organizer. As an emerging contemporary artist her work explores Nuu-chah-nulth teachings and stories often with a feminist edge. Returning to the west coast 8 years ago to set some roots, she has contributed to various community projects including the coordination of Inkwis Arts & Culture, a year-round arts and culture hub for the Carving on the Edge Festival Society. For several years Marika has been a contributing artist and coordinator with the festival. Her creative vision has brought in a mix of contemporary and traditional programming, creating a dynamic and evolving creative community space.
Hélène Descoteaux is a community organizer and project coordinator based in Clayoquot Sound. Her interest in the arts stems from the belief that the well-being of individuals, strength in culture, and connection to the land are necessary foundations for a vibrant & healthy community. With a background in geography and holistic nutrition, Hélène has years of experience working in the local community with non-profit organizations, both in the environmental & arts sector.
Since 2014, Robinson has been a key contributor to the success of the workshops programming component of the Carving on the Edge Festival. He has instructed several workshops himself, taken a leadership role in coordinating artist instructors and overseen production. Robinson’s community mindedness and long-standing relationships with artists in the carving community have contributed to his success in facilitating and growing the Open Carving Area. Following the 2018 festival, Robinson formed the Carving on the Edge Carving Club, an informal bimonthly gathering of carvers that was inspired by the desire to keep the momentum going from the festival and to support people who are not carving every day.
Christine Germano is the founder and director of the Constant Arts Society and the Artistic Director of the Portraits of Resilience project coordinated by Many Strong Voices / GRID Arendal. Germano has collaborated with Indigenous communities since 2000 but is best known for her photojournalism projects that focuses on the voices and images of young people whose futures are influenced by social and environmental issues. The project encourages youth to use photography and writing as a means to express themselves and their community, build self-confidence and empower themselves to be global citizens and mentors. The international photojournalism project titled Portraits of Resilience has allowed her to work with indigenous youth to illustrate the personal and ethical effects of climate change on their communities. Since its creation in 2008, the project has occurred in 12 countries (29 communities) and was launched at the National Museum of Denmark during the COP 15 in 2009 and has continued to exhibit internationally with a permanent exhibit at the Ontario Science Centre. Christine is a recipient of the John Hobday Awards in Arts Management through the Canada Council of the Arts. In May 2015 Germano was honoured with an Alumni Award from the OCAD University. And, in the summer of 2018 Christine completed an Arts for Social Change, Masters of Education degree at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. Instagram: christine_germano
Brianne Dempsey is a freelance writer and marketer living in Tofino, BC. She is passionate about storytelling and believes that it is a community obligation to make sure no story is lost. Her background is in non-fiction writing and hospitality.
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