Art Is Not Without Sacrifice

Rhonda Lee McIsaac

Naad Kaa, Wang Roger Edward Smith of the Tsaalth Laanaas clan began drawing Haida form line in grade 8 and is now a second-year student at the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art in Kitsumkalum, Ts’msyen laaxyuup Tsimshian territory.

“My art is very old school traditional form line. I stick with what our ancestors left behind. There’s no need to tweak or change the beautiful ovoid’s and U shapes” says Naad Kaa, Wang.

Naad Kaa, Wang has also been heavily influenced by Haida artists T’aakeit G’aayaa Corey Bulpitt and Ginaawaan Ernest Swanson.

“These 2 guys are great role models and have taught me so much about the art form whenever I had a question they were always willing to pass down their knowledge” he says.

Naad Kaa, Wang speaks highly of his time at Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art. “I love this program because they start you from the beginning of the fundamentals and work your confidence up from there” and identifies it as a great foundation for a successful art career.

Naad Kaa, Wang was one of two artists who won the 2018 Northwest Community College Presidents Art Award in February for his Chilkat blanket inspired painting and wool fringe instalment. This award has spurred him to continue working as an artist not only for himself but for his young son.

“I have been putting in the work and I’m finally starting to see the results. You’ve got to have good work ethic and a clear mind. You can have all the talent in the world but if you ‘re not working, then what does [creating art] mean?

His future plans include working with his mentor T’aakeit G’aayaa on various projects such as masks, panels and monumental poles. Like other artists before him, Naad Kaa, Wang knows that he will one day be passing down his knowledge and experience gained over the years of education and experiential learning as an artist.

“My goals are to continue making Haida art and to contribute my skills to the k’uuts’iixuu T’aaxwii Far South Songbirds Dance group in T’agwan Vancouver by telling our stories through song and dance”.

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