Nuu-chah-nulth (Ditidaht), 1948-2003
Thunderbird Portrait Mask
Red cedar, fur
Art Thompson, born in 1948 on Vancouver Island in the village of Whyac on the southern end of Nitinat Lake, considered himself fortunate to have been immersed in the cultural life of his people from an early age when he was initiated into the Tlukwalla (Wolf) Society. As a small boy he learned the history, songs, and dances of his people from his paternal grandfather, who also nurtured Art’s interest in artistic expression.
In 1970, Art met Nuu-chah-nulth artists Joe David and Ron Hamilton, both of whom influenced his development as an artist. His studies at Camosun College in Victoria and at the Emily Carr Institute in Vancouver led him to focus on printmaking. He became known for his innovative silkscreen interpretations of Nuu-chah-nulth images. His work is included in many public collections around the world.