Landmarks - Public Art in the Capital Region


Our Beginnings by Art Thompson

Our Beginnings by Art Thompson
larger image
Bookmark and Share


Artwork DescriptionNorth West Coast design depicts Ditidaht creation story. Print 100 of 200.
Artwork Statement"Our Beginnings" was originally created by Thompson as a logo for the 1997 North American Indigenous Games. The image has been generously donated by the artist to the new program to be used as its visual identity. The program, the first of its kind in Canada, is committed to teaching and research that respects both western and indigenous traditions and forms of knowledge. Its first students began classes in September 1999.

About Art Thompson

DatesBorn: 1948, Village of Whyac, southern end of Nitinat Lake, BC. Died: 2003, Victoria, BC.
Artist BioArt Thompson was born in 1948 the Village of Whyac on the southern end of Nitinat Lake. He belongs to the Ditidaht Band of the Nuu Chah Nulth people. Art was fortunate to be immersed in the cultural life of his people from an early age when he was initiated into the Tlukwalla society. As a small boy he showed great interest in artistic expression. This was further reinforced by his father and paternal grandfather, from whom he learned the history, songs and dances of his people. Art graduated from a residential school in 1964, ending nine years of abuse. In recent years, he has become a powerful spokesman in pursuit of justice for others who have suffered similar experiences.
Artist ResumeArt Thompson was largely a self-taught artist who was heavily influenced by his father and paternal grandfather who were both carvers. From 1970 – 1972, Art studied fine arts at Camosun College in Victoria. Subsequently he enrolled at the Emily Carr Institute in Vancouver, working in both two and three dimensional forms. It was here that Art began printmaking and began to create the striking silk-screens for which he is now so renowned. Well-versed in many of the artistic styles of the coast. Art developed his own innovative and distinctive interpretation of Nuu Chah Nulth design. His studies with Ron Hamilton and Joe David, two of the artists most responsible for the resurgence of Nuu-chah-nulth art, had a significant impact on his work. Art Thompson's work can be found in many public collections including the Museum of Civilization in Hull, Québec, the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, and Stanford University in the United States.


Artwork TypeFirst Nations
MediumSilkscreen Print
Unveiled date1997
Dimensions24" x 25"or 85cm x 110cm
Art CategoryCivic Public Art
Selection ProcessCivic: Donation
Municipality/NeighbourhoodSaanich: Royal Oak



Type of Artwork