Haida Cosmic

  • 2013

This comic, Haida Cosmic, is included as a chapter in Native Art of the Northwest Coast: A History of Changing Ideas (UBC Press, 2013) edited by Charlotte Townsend-Gault, Jennifer Kramer, and Ki-Ke-In. The book was shortlisted in 2014 for the Melva J. Dwyer Award, Art Libraries Society of North America - Canadian Chapter.

Book Description

The Northwest Coast of North America has long been recognized as one of the world's canonical art zones. Since the mid-1700s, objects or "art" deriving from the Indigenous cultures of this area have been desired, displayed, and exchanged, classified and interpreted, stolen and confiscated, bought and sold, and displayed again in many parts of the world. "Northwest Coast Native art" has proved to be a powerful idea, assuming many guises over the centuries. But how has it been defined, and by whom and why?

The central importance of this book is that it counters the tendency to turn Northwest Coast Native "art" into a one-dimensional spectacle that obscures and reduces the values of its component cultures and ignores the wider histories of thought that have contributed to its production. In unsettling the conventions that have shaped "the idea of Northwest Coast Native art," this book takes a central place in the lively, often heated, and now global, debates about what constitutes Native art and who should decide.

Reviews for Native Art of the Northwest Coast

This work is an anthology, akin to improvisational jazz... embroidered around a core theme... but allowing every contributor remarkable latitude, creativity, and individuality. Subtitled "A history of changing ideas," it indeed questions many long-held assumptions in the field, and posits fresh notions on contemporaneity. It also works to suggest what might be appropriate, respectful, and well-informed means of appreciating, sharing, and studying ceremonial objects, and the Native Northwest cultures which imbued them with life... it is rare indeed that one encounters a book with the capacity to make the reader feel woefully uninformed, while simultaneously tempering with the unflinchingly illustrative personal narratives of Native elders, Haida Manga, and thought-provoking arguments on cultural patrimony... to the degree that any criticism can be made of this volume, it would only be that its sheer size may deter the casual observer who sees it on a shelf. This would truly be a shame, since its wealth of information, multiplicity of perspectives, diversity of opinion, and review of historical literature make it a terrific resource for any library.
-- Michelle Paquette, Circulation, Periodicals, and Reserves Specialist, Frick Fine Arts Library, ARLIS/NA Reviews, 2014

The scale of this undertaking is unprecedented in the art historical and anthropological literature of the Northwest Coast and, more broadly, in regard to Indigenous cultural expressions in North America and beyond […] The depth of research contained within its covers and the commitment to multivocality, interdisciplinarity, and consultation, are groundbreaking.
-- Megan A. Smetzer, Department of Art History, Capilano University, Revue d'art canadienne / Canadian Art Review (RACAR), August 2014

This volume balances solid, modem scholarship with an anthology of earlier writings. It will be indispensable for anyone with a scholarly interest in Native American art, and very important for anyone interested in the art and culture of Indigenous communities.
-- N. Anderson, emeritus, University of California, Riverside, CHOICE, March 2014