Coast Salish & Kwakwaka’wakw artist Noel Brown was born to Donna and Jerry Brown in Snuneymuxw (Nanaimo) on Vancouver Island.
Noel gained an interest in First Nations art as a young child, and began learning when he was young under his cousins Richard and Matthew Baker, Chris and Doran Lewis and Craig Manson. Brown credits James Christopher Lewis as being his main inspiration for why he started carving in 1995.
Brown has collaborated on large scale Totem Poles, creates drum designs and pieces that are used in the Big House, and also creates art pieces for the art market. Brown can often be found crafting custom pieces of jewellery, which has become his full time passion and career. Please contact us if you would like to custom order work by this artist.
2015 - Walking with our Sisters – IHOS Gallery, Comox BC
2005 - Native Spirit Pumpkins for Loaves & Fishes; Copper Moon Gallery, Nanaimo BC
2006 - Native Spirit Pumpkins for Loaves & Fishes; Copper Moon Gallery, Nanaimo BC
Turquoise Bear by Noel Brown
On the Pacific Northwest Coast, Bears are correlated with humans, as both rely on berries and salmon for sustenance. Bear is also considered an ancestor, and as such, are revered as a friend to man rather than a threat.
Bears weave a special connection between spawning salmon and the health of the forests they live in, as salmon are full of nitrogen which acts as a superb fertilizer for the forest. During the spawn, Bears take advantage of their opportunity to benefit from the abundant food supply by eating their favorite parts and discarding what they fancy less. In general, it is said that Bears only consume about 5% of any given salmon they pull from streams during the return, which is why Bears have been given significant credit by the scientific community, for helping to maintain the health of the forest.
To identify a bear, look for a short snout, canine teeth, small ears, claws, and a short tail. Bears are often depicted with salmon, cubs, and humans. Wolf and Bear can look quite similar on jewellery, with the wolf having a much longer snout and tail. To differentiate Bear from Sea Bear, look for fish-scales where Bear would otherwise have fur.
Cheryl Shearar Understanding Northwest Coast Art (2000)
Campbell River Museum & Archives