Arlene Ness

Hazelton, British Columbia

Arlene Ness describes her work as an exploration of new and old techniques”. When carving her pieces she captures a moment in time and interprets experiences, history and legend while keeping the core of the art’s creation true to her Gitxsan ancestry. Arlene’s formative years were spent doing portraiture in pencil and pen and ink. Her years of studying faces led her to focus on the creation of portrait masks, crest masks and moon masks; which she describes as her comfort zone”. When designing a mask, Arlene takes inspiration from old Gitxsan and Tsimshian portrait masks. Ness credits her lifetime of exposure to, and exploration of, mainstream native art to her love of, and career in First Nations’ fine art.