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Museum of Anthropology presents Kesu. The Art and Life of Doug Cranmer

The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia presents Kesu. The Art and Life of Doug Cranmer, an exhibition on view through September 3, 2012.

Born in 1927 in Alert Bay, BC, to ‘Namgis hereditary chief Daniel Cranmer and his Kwagiulth wife Agnes, Doug was the eldest child of nine who would grow up to inherit his father’s high name, Pal’nakwala Wakas [Great River of Overflowing Wealth], but who preferred to be called by his everyday name Kesu’ [Wealth being Carved]. In his life, Doug fulfilled his chiefly responsibilities, but also pushed the boundaries of what many considered ‘traditional’ Northwest Coast art. Ever the individualist, Doug opened the first Native-run commercial gallery in Vancouver, the Talking Stick, in 1962; worked with Bill Reid on the Haida Houses at UBC and other projects; participated in the seminal ‘Arts of the Raven’ exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery (1967); and experimented throughout his life with artistic forms and techniques that built on older methods, but took into account efficiency of production and popular demand as well.

The exhibit shows a wide range of Doug’s artistic works in two and three dimensions in wood and paint, from totem poles, a canoe, masks, bentwood boxes, bowls, and prints, to his important “Abstract series” of paintings on mahogany plywood. Works and words by his students are also included in the exhibit, which is organized as a series of overlapping modules that reflect different aspects of the artist’s life and work.

Remix, two specially commissioned new works – one audio-scape and one video work – accompanies the exhibition. Inspired by the irreverent and experimental side of Doug’s artistic practice, local artists Colin Griffiths and Michael Glendale use sound and video clips of Doug to convey the contradictions and complexities of Doug’s life and work. Remix will also be shown at the Campbell River Museum and U’mista Cultural Centre, when components of the exhibition travel to these two locations in the fall of 2012.

Exhibition supported by Department of Canadian Heritage Museums Assistance Program, and proceeds from the Doug Cranmer Memorial Fundraiser, 2007. Special thanks to curatorial consultants Gloria Cranmer Webster and Vivien Cranmer.

6393 N.W. Marine Drive Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z2
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