Totems and Tributaries

September 6th-11th, 2018

2018 Carving on the Edge Festival

This year’s festival theme explored how individuals and communities express identity, values, and political presence on the landscape through the visual language of the traditional and contemporary carving arts. Our programming focused on creating opportunities for mentorship, intergenerational knowledge sharing, and empowering artists to use their creative voice for expression of cultural and societal values. 

Leading up to the 2018 Carving on the Edge Festival, our society supported the undertaking of two significant community art projects: a Tla-o-qui-aht Totem Pole carved by renowned artist Joe David & a Tla-o-qui-aht Vision Mural, a collaborative, intergenerational project between local artists and youth. 

Our annual Edge Art Exhibit took place over a 6 day period during the festival week and showcased 28 emerging and master carvers from the coastal region. Featured artists were Tsimshian artist Phil Gray from Vancouver and Dave Parsanishi from Port Alberni. Art Exhibit tours were held over the weekend and gave artists the rare opportunity to speak publicly about their work to groups of approximately 15-20 people. 

We strive to create a space that allows for cultural sharing, creative expression and bridge building between individuals and communities. In 2018, this was epitomized by the Tla-o-qui-aht Totem Pole Raising which saw both First Nations and non-First Nations community members come together to participate in this historical event, honour the hereditary chiefs of our territory and share in a meal together (hosted by the District of Tofino). 

This year we provided 24 workshops bursaries to youth and those with financial barriers. We also provided travel support to local and visiting artists that would have otherwise not been able to participate. In partnership with the Language Keepers Society we received funding to bolster language revitalization efforts in our region and leveraged the festival space to promote the important work they are doing. Representatives of arts and culture institutions, including the Royal British Columbia Museum and New York Natural History Museum, were invited to the festival to build connections with artists and communities.

Festival at a Glance

Festival Poster

Credit: Jeremy Koreski (photo) & Court Dheensaw (design)

Festival Program

Schedule of Events

The Shore Pier, Anchor Park & the Tofino Community Hall
# of Artists
# of Exhibiting Artists
# of Events
Including 12 Workshops
# of Volunteers
# of Volunteer Hours
# of Community Partners


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The Carving on the Edge Festival sends out periodic updates on the festival and out-of-festival events. If you’d like to be kept up-to-date on the coastal carving scene, please sign-up using the form below.