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 Raven Pendant by Noel Brown
Though Raven is considered to be the wanton, sneaky, mischievous trickster, he is also an important messenger and go-between the spirit and human world, as he is credited with many positive outcomes regardless of his infamous shenanigans, including discovering mankind in a clam shell, bringing salmon to the people, and releasing the sun, moon and stars to the world that was previously in darkness. He is the most famed of all creatures on the Pacific Northwest Coast.
The Haida are divided into the Eagle and Raven Clans. Each moiety has their own hereditary rights to certain crests, while they also share some crests. Shared crests include the Killer Whale, Hawk, Raven and Sea Wolf. Other crests, such as the Eagle, Beaver, Frog and Dragonfly belong exclusively to Eagle Clan, while Grizzly Bear, Black Bear, Moon, Shark and Wolf are exclusive to Raven Clan.
Within these two moieties are a number of lineages belonging to each side. Social organization among the Haida is matrilineal, and dictates that marriages must only take place between moieties, but not within them. Children inherit their clan from their mother, as well as property, dances, stories, and songs. Even Chiefs receive their title through their maternal line.
When Eagle and Raven are depicted together, they symbolize the joining of these moieties through love and marriage. Unlike western symbolism of love in hearts and knots, the Haida symbol of love is significant of social ties and ancestral history in imagery of these majestic birds.
Franz Boas Indian Myths & Legends from the North Pacific Coast of America: A Translation of Franz Boas' 1895 Edition of Indianische Sagen von der Nord-Pacifischen Kuste Amerikas (2006)
Cheryl Shearar Understanding Northwest Coast Art (2000)
Campbell River Museum & Archives
Museum of Civilization Online Resources
Conversations with various Northwest Coast Indigenous Artists