Please note that the West Vancouver Art Museum will be closed for the public from 3 p.m. on July 13, 2024 due to a private event. 

Stepping into the Circle: Aaron Nelson-Moody
Aaron Nelson-Moody, Salmon Gaff, 2010, digital design. Courtesy of the artist.

Stepping into the Circle: Aaron Nelson-Moody / Tawx’sin Yexwulla

Curated by Alison Powell

Exhibition Opening: Tuesday, July 30, from 6 to 8 p.m.

The word stélmexw in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language has been historically translated as a noun, “human being.” However, recent discussions among Elders and knowledge keepers found this translation to be inaccurate. It is now widely understood as “being human,” a verb signals the privilege and responsibility that comes along with active participation in a community.

Aaron Nelson-Moody’s 30 year-long career encompasses carving, graphic design, and metalwork. As both an artist and educator, community has been fundamental to his artistic approach. This exhibition highlights his activism and advocacy work, as well as the collaborative nature of his working style. While artists of all cultures invite onlookers to ponder the existence of life on Earth, Nelson-Moody’s work is often conceived with a strong intention to create opportunities for profound connection and shared learning. In doing so, Nelson-Moody’s artistic approach actively seeks to create tangible positive change. Using art in the broadest sense of the word—art as cultural encounter; art as protest; art as process; art as teacher—Nelson-Moody invites others in reflection and conversation.

About the Artist

Aaron Nelson-Moody is a Squamish carver and jeweller working in the Coast Salish tradition. His Sḵwx̱wú7mesh name is Tawx'sin Yexwulla, which translates to "Splashing Eagle," though most know him as "Splash." He also carries the name Poolxtun from his adopted father Gerry Oleman, which translates as: “the spreading ripples from a splash of water.” Nelson-Moody has been woodcarving since 1996, under the mentorship of celebrated North Shore artist Xwalacktun. He also studied jewellery engraving at the Native Education College in Vancouver and gained a mastery of metal repoussé techniques with Valentin Yotkov. Nelson-Moody’s works include the Western Red Cedar doors to the BC/Canada pavilion at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, several large works for Olympic venues for the 2010 Olympics, house boards for the Squamish/Lil’wat Cultural Centre, as well as engraved, smithed, and repoussé metal pieces that are found in collections throughout Vancouver's Lower Mainland.

Nelson-Moody has worked as an educator throughout the Squamish and Vancouver areas since 1995. For 10 years Nelson-Moody was involved with the Utsáḿ Witness Project arts and environment program. He also teaches several Indigenous woodcarving classes at Langara College’s Fine Art program, and is currently teaching metalworking at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. He has been on two Tribal Journeys in the Squamish Nation’s 50-foot carved cedar canoe and one in Xwalacktun’s family canoe, the Pekultun.

Generously supported by Jennifer and John Webb. With support from the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre. 

 

Barbet

 

References

Interview with Aaron Nelson-Moody, April 20, 2024. 

Findlay, Denise Marie, "Becoming the Imperfect Friend: Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Contemplative Pathways to Healing and Reconciliation in Higher Education," in Journal of Contemplative and Holistic Education: Vol. 1: Iss. 2, Article 1. 

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