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Virtual Sightseeing – Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art

Written by Library in Library Blog on September 30, 2020

Welcome to AC Library’s virtual sightseeing tour! In this series, the Library will take you to different local sites of interest. We’ll explore these sites using the online resources available to all students and faculty through the Library databases, along with other accessible virtual resources. Join us this week as we explore the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art:

The gallery’s namesake, Bill Reid (1920-1998), was a Haida artist of international renown. Working in multiple mediums over his life, he originally studied jewellery and engraving before delving into the art of the Haida. Bill Reid is most well-known for his large sculptures, including Raven and the First Humans in UBC’s Museum of Anthropology, and the bronze orca sculpture The Chief of the Undersea World at the Vancouver Aquarium. His fame introduced many Canadians and the world to the art traditions of the Northwest Coast, which had before been considered only a niche interest by the mainstream public. His work has also inspired and influenced emerging artists.

Image: Habitat Forum, Habitat family – 3 [5 of 19], 1976, photograph, City of Vancouver Archives,

Established in 1999, the Bill Reid Foundation was created to honour his legacy as well as celebrate the Indigenous cultures of the Northwest Coast. The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art opened in 2008, and is the only public gallery in Canada dedicated to contemporary Indigenous Northwest Coast art.

Located in downtown Vancouver, the Gallery has recently re-opened with limited hours, including Thursday mornings reserved for seniors, vulnerable people and first responders. The current exhibition, To Speak With a Golden Voice, is a celebration of Bill Reid’s 100th anniversary. Curated by Gwaai Edenshaw, Reid’s last apprentice, it features rarely seen works as well as artists influenced by Bill Reid. The exhibition runs from July 16, 2020 to April 11, 2021. The gallery also has an online collection that can be viewed from home here.


“Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art.” Bill Reid Foundation. Accessed August 18, 2020.

“Bill Reid Gallery Online Collection.” Bill Reid Foundation, Accessed August 18, 2020.

“Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art.” Tourism Vancouver, Accessed August 20, 2020.

“Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art exhibit celebrates namesake’s 100th anniversary.” Janet Smith, The Georgia Straight. Accessed August 18, 2020.

Cover Image:

Nick Kwan, UBC Museum of Anthropology, Bill Reid’s “The Raven and the First Men”, [date unknown], photograph, Unsplash,

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