Robert Charles Davidson
Robert Davidson was born in 1946 in Hydaburg, Alaska and raised in Massett, Haida Gwaii. His great grandfather Charles Edenshaw was a renowned turn of the century Haida artist, and, influenced by his father and grandfather who were both respected carvers, Davidson began carving at the age of 13. In 1965 Davidson moved to Vancouver to complete high school at Point Grey Secondary School, and in turned gained knowledge about Haida culture through the Vancouver Museum. He met Bill Reid in 1966, beginning a sculpture and design apprenticeship for 18 months. Through Reid he met anthropologist Wilson Duff and artist and art historian Bill Holm, furthering his cultural education. In 1967 he enrolled at the Vancouver School of Art and a year later, aged 22, he was teaching carving at the Fitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art in 'Ksan. In 1969 he carved and raised the 40 foot Bear Mother totem pole, the first new pole to be installed in Massett in over 50 years.
In 1993 the Vancouver Art Gallery mounted a major solo exhibition of Davidson's work - Eagle of the Dawn - which traveled to the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec. His 2004 solo exhibition Robert Davidson: The Abstract Edge also toured nationally, opening at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver and his 2013 solo exhibition The Abstract Impulse was mounted at the Seattle Art Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian in New York.
Davidson is proficient in many media including wood, gold, silver, argillite, bronze and silkscreen. His work is held in private and public collections worldwide, including the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Quebec and the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles.
In 1995 he received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award and the Order of British Columbia. The following year he was awarded the Order of Canada, and he is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. He received both the Governor General's Award for Visual Arts and the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement Award in the Visual Arts in 2010.
He currently lives and works in White Rock, BC and Massett, Haida Gwaii.