Kelly Robinson’s roots and family origins are in Bella Coola with descendants from both the Nuxalk and Nuu-chah-nulth Nations. As a child his curiosity in his culture was piqued and Kelly became determined to learn and refine the art — specifically the unique design forms of the Nuxalk.
Under the guidance of his uncle, noted Master carver, Alvin Mack, Kelly developed his own techniques in creation of two and three-dimensional art forms. In 2010 he graduated from the Northwest Coast Jewellery Arts program at the Native Education College in Vancouver. Immediately following graduation, Kelly began an apprenticeship with Haida artist Jim McGuire to continue his understanding of design and the twenty-first century contemporary art market. Soon after, he completed another apprenticeship with renowned Nuu-chah-nulth artist Gordon Dick.
In 2012 Kelly graduated from the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art. He continued his studies under a mentorship program with master carver Tim Paul, during which time Kelly enlightened himself with Nuu-chah-nulth stories and perfected his mask making abilities in the Nuu-chah-nulth style.
Kelly uses his art to tell stories of the Nuxalk and Nuu-chah-nulth people, their land and culture. He examines stories of the supernatural, potlatch societies, and the land and sea in his artwork. He is currently working on two lineage totem poles that will represent two of four villages within the Nuxalk Nation. “Through the art, I will begin my educational journey in recapturing the culture we once had. It is a very exciting time to be a First Nations artist in Canada.”
Image 4 – Bringer of Wealth, photo credit Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery
Image 9 – Sea Eagle Mask, photo credit Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery