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Thursday June 30, 2016 in Books
During the groundbreaking Charles Edenshaw exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2013, poet Colin Browne found himself returning often to study three large argillite (slate) platters carved by the Haida master in the late 1800s. Produced several years apart, each of the platters presents the same scene: in a Haida canoe, Raven holds his spear at the ready, his bracket-fungus helmsman is wedged into the stern, and below the canoe a figure hovers. Where are they going, and why? And who is the bracket-fungus helmsman? Browne begins by tracing his familyâ€™s lives in a small village on Vancouver Island. He explores the Surrealist attraction to the Indigenous arts of the Northwest Coast, the tragic results from colonial incursions and government policies, and the extraordinary achievement of Haida artists during a century of radical change. He encounters a story with a teaching that is as profound and relevant today as it was when Da.a xiigang, Charles Edenshaw, learned it in his youth. And he finds in Da.a xiigangâ€™s art a deeply personal and moving response to the arrival of the modern world.
Colin Browne’s Entering Time: The Fungus Man Platters of Charles Edenshaw is an extended, often poetic, meditation on the three argillite platters created in the late nineteenth century. In this newly published book, Browne ranges through the fields of art history, literature, ethnology, and oral history to discover a parallel history of modernism within one of the worldâ€™s most subtle and sophisticated artistic and literary cultures.
ISBN 13: 9781772010398 | ISBN 10:
5 W x 8.5 H inches | 192 pages
$19.95 CAN / $19.95 US
Non-Fiction | Backlist
QUOTES OF NOTE
â€œ[Browne] is to be congratulated on treating Edenshawâ€™s work not as a separate â€˜ethnographicâ€™ art but as modernist hybrid work that mirrored what was going on in the Haida world in late nineteenth and early twentieth century B.C. Browneâ€™s detailed discussion of Charles Edenshawâ€™s platters â€“ and the political, social, and economic environment in which that creation took place â€“ is informed by his dependence on the knowledge and insight of contemporary Haida scholars and artists and also by his extensive reference to academic discussion. â€¦ A delight to read and an accessible and lively introduction to the twists and turns of Haida mythology.â€
â€”The Ormsby Review
â€œColin Browneâ€™s closely argued and sensitive appreciation of some of the major works of Haida artist Da.a Xiigang, who is also known by his baptismal name of Charles Edenshaw, benefits in some ways from a strong political perspective â€¦ Browne has further burnished Edenshawâ€™s reputation as a leading First Nations artist and taken pains to show how Edenshaw inspired whole generations of Haida artists who followed him. â€¦ [W]e should welcome Colin Browneâ€™s sensitive evocation of Haida mythology and its expression in their artwork of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuriesâ€¦â€
â€œColin Browne provides a thoughtful, provocative analysis of Charles Edenshawâ€™s depictions of Ravenâ€™s journey to help fulfill women, and in doing so, contemplates humanityâ€™s existence.â€â€”Gid7ahl-Gudsllaay, Lalaxaaygans, Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson
â€œEntering Time explores family, crucial episodes in the development of art, the brutalities of colonial history, the origins of gender, and the creative cunning of Raven. Colin Browne finds in Fungus Man the spirit of resistance. This was vital to the Haida; nothing could now be more important to all of us.â€â€”Hugh Brody, author of Maps and Dream
â€œWith a passion that is contagious, Colin Browne leads readers across the realms of epic poem, oral narrative, science, art, and detective story as he pursues Raven and his helmsman â€“ the mysterious Fungus Man â€“ on an enthralling journey into time and history.â€â€”Karen Duffek, co-author of The Transforming Image
About the ContributorsColin Browne
Colin Browne is the author of Abraham (Brick Books, 1987); the critically acclaimed collection of poetry Ground Water (Talonbooks, 2002), which was nominated for a Governor Generalâ€™s Literary Award and a Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize; and The Shovel (Talonbooks, 2007), shortlisted for the 2008 ReLit Award. Browneâ€™s films include Linton Garner: I Never Said Goodbye (2003), Father and Son (1992) and White Lake (1989), which was nominated for a Genie for Best Feature Length Documentary.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.