Downtown Eastside-based indigenous artist/residential school survivor Norman James Hall launched a new public artwork “The Chiefs and Nobles” at Vancouver Public Library’s library square promenade on November 12, 2018. The project is commissioned by City of Vancouver’s Cultural Services and Engineering Services.
“Chiefs and Nobles symbolizes the strength and the paths of knowledge of these six distinguished Indigenous leaders and artists. I decided to paint these portraits to bring the Chiefs and the artists to life, and stimulate interest in finding out more about Indigenous arts, culture, history, and its future,” said Hall.
The Chiefs and Nobles painted on the banners are Chief Jim Pollard, Chief Alex Clellamin, Chief Sam Pootlass, Chief Willie Mack, artist Arthur Shilling, and artist Norval Morrisseau. The four Nuxalk Chiefs are related to his family history and his relatives. The two artists, Arthur Shilling and Norval Morrisseau, come from Anishnaabe ancestry. They survived residential school, and became internationally recognized as Indigenous artists connected to their heritage but working in contemporary themes. Their style and use of colour have greatly influenced Hall’s work and served as his inspiration.
The banners are currently on view until Fall 2019 in Vancouver Public Library’s library square promenade. The Chiefs and Nobles is commissioned by City of Vancouver’s Cultural Services and Engineering Services.
Norman (k̕wa̱da) James Hall (b. 1954) is a Nuxalk, Tŝilhqot’in, Heiltsuk, and Kwakwaka’wakw multimedia artist born and raised in Bella Coola, BC who has been living in Vancouver for decades.
Norman’s expertise includes painting, beading, embroidery, carving, and printmaking. His hands are blessed by his Grandmother with matriarchal prayers and strokes of beaver paws. He is a self-taught artist who developed his own techniques. His artistic expressions are influenced by both traditional and contemporary arts.
Norman has been an active artist in the Downtown Eastside community for over ten years. He has participated and showcased his art numerous times in the Downtown Eastside, including Oppenheimer Park Community Art Shows, Downtown Eastside Small Arts Grants Group Shows, National Indigenous Day Art Displays at Carnegie Community Centre Gallery and more.