British Columbia

Terrace Art Gallery shows work of students from Freda Diesing School

The Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art, part of Northwest Community College, teaches students traditional First Nations art techniques and other cultural traditions. Here are two of the school's students and some of their work on display at the Terrace Art Gallery.

North By Northwest's Sheryl MacKay spoke with two artists, Jamie Nole and Danika Naccarella

Jamie Nole's painting of a kermode bear and a black bear. Nole says she chose to paint the black bear because they are a traditional food source for Tahltan and Nisga'a nations, and the kermode because they live in her nations' traditional territory. (Terrace Art Gallery)

From Haida bentwood boxes to intricate and delicate weavings, the students at the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art are learning and preserving traditional First Nations art in its many forms.

A student art exhibit is on display for the month of February at the Terrace Art Gallery.

Jamie Nole's Thank You Father pays tribute to her own father. (Terrace Art Gallery)

For two young artists, it's an exciting time.

Jamie Nole, a member of the Frog clan and from the Tahltan and Nisga'a Nations, has several paintings on wood and paper in the exhibit. Nole said art helped her deal with trauma in her life.

"Making art definitely helps make me feel better," she told CBC Radio's North By Northwest host Sheryl MacKay.

"I think of it more as healing. I'm able to get all the emotions I hold in."

One of the works Nole has at the Terrace Art Gallery is called Thank You Father, which depicts a frog riding on the back of a wolf.

Nole's father was a member of the Wolf clan, and supported her as a single father for the last years of his life.

Bringing back tradition

Another artist, Danika Naccarella, is from the Nuxalk First Nation and has five paintings and bentwood box renditions in the gallery.

Danika Naccarella's acrylic on wood painting Killer Whale Mother. (Terrace Art Gallery)

Naccarella said she learned a lot by studying traditional art methods.

"It's a really great learning experience, just to copy a box design," she said. "I love to study, just studying pieces, looking at the flow of the form line. You never really understand it until you do it yourself."

"It's a challenge, and I enjoy it."

Naccarella grew up in Vancouver, but said moving to Bella Coola, B.C. and attending the Freda Diesing School helped her reconnect with her culture through songs, dances, even potlatch ceremonies.

"One thing I want to do is help bring back traditions with the art by creating pieces … to bring them back out," she said.

A bentwood box rendition by Danika Naccarella. A rendition is a reproduction made by students of an old master's work as part of the learning process. (Terrace Art Gallery)

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Terrace Art Gallery showing works by students of Freda Diesing School