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Oct 2019 - The Way Home

Oct 2019 - The Way Home

By University of Toronto Press

$32.95
- +

David Neel was an infant when his father, a Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw artist, died, triggering events that would separate him from the traditions of his homeland on Vancouver Island. When the aspiring photographer saw a mask carved by an ancestor in a Texas museum twenty-five years later, the encounter inspired him to return home and follow in his father’s footsteps. Drawing on memory, legend, and his own art, Neel recounts his struggle to reconnect with his culture and become an accomplished Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw artist. His memoir is a testament to the strength of the human spirit to overcome great obstacles and to the power and endurance of Indigenous culture and art.

Review

David Neel was an infant when his father, a Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw artist, died, triggering a series of events that would separate him from his homeland and its rich cultural traditions for twenty-five years. When he saw a Potlatch mask carved by his great-great-grandfather in a museum in Fort Worth, Texas, the encounter caused the aspiring photographer to wonder if he could return to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Drawing on memory, legend, and his own art and photographs, Neel tells the story of his struggle to reconnect with his culture after decades of separation and a childhood marred by trauma and abuse. David returned to the Pacific Coast, where he apprenticed with master carvers from his father’s village on Vancouver Island, and his career as an author and artist took him to the United States and to Mexico, to Europe and back again to British Columbia. Along the way, he met and photographed some of the most talented artists and Indigenous people of his generation. His travels helped him grow as a man and become an accomplished and prolific artist, but they also reconfirmed the healing power of returning home.

The Way Home is a testament to the strength of the human spirit to overcome great obstacles and to the power and endurance of Indigenous culture and art.

 

Book Description

Crafted from memories, legends, and art, this powerful memoir tells the uplifting story of an Indigenous man’s struggle to reconnect with his culture and walk in the footsteps of his father and the generations of Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw artists that came before him.

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