The late Nelson Joseph was a well-known personality in the Alberni Valley. Artist, carver and member of the Hupacasath First Nation, his artwork was distinctive and was collected far and wide. A new project is currently underway that will showcase and celebrate Nelson’s work and share some insight into the man himself. Artists/researchers Rod Sayers and Emily Luce are working with Nelson’s family and the Alberni Valley Museum to mount an exhibition of work which includes: plaques, paddles, masks, small totems, rattles and jewellery boxes, all carved from cedar and finished with his trademark brown polish.
Nelson has always been an influence to Sayers, who as a child with a vivid imagination remembers seeing him walking on River Road with his carvings. Everywhere he went there seemed to be carvings by Nelson. When Joseph passed away without ever having had a formal exhibition of his work, Rod felt that it was important to document this work and its contribution to the history of the Hupacasath people and the Alberni Valley.
The exhibition is planned for spring of 2014 at the Alberni Valley Museum with the assistance of Museum Curator Kirsten Smith and Director Jamie Morton. “We hope to exhibit a large body of work at the museum, and to collect and document stories about Nelson for an upcoming book,” says Sayers.
We are asking for the public’s help with these projects. We are holding a special event at the Alberni Valley Museum on Thursday, November 14 at 7:00pm. Rod Sayers will provide a presentation on Nelson Joseph and his work. We invite anyone who has a piece of Nelson’s art or a story or memory to come and share it with us. We would like to document as many works of Nelson’s that we can. You are welcome to bring the actual artwork or a photograph and share any information you have on the piece or on Nelson himself.
Please contact the Museum at 250-720-2521 for more information.