Simon Charlie

Simon Charlie
Coast Salish (Cowichan) 1920-2005

Maquette. of Welcome Figure
(Original in the Royal British Columbia Museum, Victoria)
Red Cedar


Simon Charlie, or Hwunumetse’, was a renowned Coast Salish master carver and elder who spent over thirty years carving traditional Cowichan art. His totem poles stand in the Royal British Columbia Museum and in Ottawa’s Parliament buildings as well as in several states (including Washington), Holland, New Zealand, and Australia. Other works appear in collections in North and South America, Europe, and Japan. Simon was passionately committed to perpetuating the language, arts, and culture of his people. His dedication to passing on his knowledge to the younger generation by mentoring young Coast Salish artists in traditional methods and designs was exemplary. Simon received multiple honors for his contributions to education and to the preservation of his cultural heritage, including the Order of Canada, the National Centennial Medal, and the Order of British Columbia.

A maquette is a small-scale model or rough draft of an unfinished sculpture. It is used to visualize and test shapes and ideas without incurring the cost and effort of producing a full-scale product. For commissioned sculptures, especially monumental public sculptures, a maquette may be used to show the client how the finished work will fit in the proposed site.