James (Jim) Hart

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James (Jim) Hart

1952 -

Master carver James (Jim) Hart or Chief 7idansuu (pronounced ee-dan-soo) of Masset, Haida Gwaii, is known for contemporary interpretations of traditional Haida sculpture. His work is placed in important public collections across Canada. Born into the Eagle Clan of Old Massett in 1952, his mother is the granddaughter of renowned artist and former Chief 7idansuu Charles Edenshaw (circa 1839 - 1920) whose title Hart inherited from his uncle, Morris White, at a potlatch ceremony in 1999.

In 1978, at the age of 24, Hart discovered carving when he was hired to assist Robert Davidson on the Charles Edenshaw memorial longhouse in Masset. Following this experience he moved to Vancouver, and from 1980 to 1984 was Bill Reid’s assistant, instrumental in carving the finish on what is perhaps Reid’s best known sculpture The Raven and the First Men, located at the Museum of Anthropology on the University of British Columbia campus. Since leaving Reid’s studio Hart has found success with numerous projects and commissions, including a 2011 bronze sculpture The Three Watchmen, which was installed outside the National Gallery of Canada as part of their permanent collection. Hart’s totem pole, called the Respect to Bill Reid Pole, is part of the outdoor Haida village at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of BC.

Through his work Hart pays tribute to Haida art and history, and he progresses the art form through experimentation with different materials, techniques and imagery. He began incorporating various metals in his practice, and in 1982 he was the first Northwest Coast artist to make a bronze pole. In 1988, he supervised the construction of the Haida house in the Canadian Museum of Civilization. His 2010 - 2013 work The Dance Screen (The Scream Too) at the Audain Museum in Whistler is the only free-standing dance screen in the world. In 2017 Jim Hart finished carving and raised the Reconciliation Pole at the University of British Columbia, a monument that tells the story of Canada’s First Nations before, during and after the residential school system. The work is studded with thousands of copper nails which were hammered in by survivors, affected families and the community, each one representing the life of a child that was lost in the schools.