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Beyond Being Silenced

Famed Haida artist Robert Davidson carves his latest monumental totem pole and gives a rare insight into the deeper meanings of North Coast Indigenous art works.

A printer-friendly version of this page 14 minutes
SDH Captioned>>

Directed by Charles Wilkinson, Tina Schliessler
Creative Producers: Robert Davidson, Terri-Lynn Williams Davidson, Sara Florence Davidson
A Shore Films Production

"Vibrant...We witness the artist's deep knowledge of how to bring Haida histories into physical form." Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse, Dir, Bill Holm Center for Study of NW Native Art, UWash
In this sequel to the feature-length documentary HAIDA MODERN, Robert Davidson, the articulate and engaging master carver, uses old photos showing how he once created a totem pole called 'We Were Once Silenced'; a work dedicated to the memory of the wrongs suffered by his people at the hands of the captains of colonization.

In his new, more hopeful work however, Robert celebrates the cultural and political reawakening of the Indigenous peoples of the world in general, and the Haida Nation particular, with a pole called 'Gyaangee: Beyond Being Silenced'.

The viewer is treated to the extraordinarily beautiful shapes and curves of the master's work. Most importantly we're given access to the mysterious world of the supernatural creatures who populate Haida mythology and their spiritual world view.

Grade Level: 7 - 12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2022     Copyright Date: 2022
DVD ISBN: 1-948745-83-6

"Vibrant as the painted pole itself, the story of Gyaangee: Beyond Being Silenced beautifully illustrates what happens when you invite creativity into the world. The film reveals Robert Davidson's dedication to collaboration and knowledge sharing. We witness the artist's deep knowledge of how to bring Haida histories into physical form as he brings this pole to life."
Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse, Director, Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Native Art, University of Washington

"Robert Davidson has carved dozens of totem poles. This visual biography accompanies the artist as he creates a unique pole--one that he has 'always wanted to do.' Gyaangee: Beyond Being Silenced addresses settler oppression with references to residential school crimes, cultural devastation, and a history denied. But works like this intensify empowerment and recognition, articulating a robust voice no longer silenced. This is a compelling and moving film of Davidson's optimistic artistic interpretation of colonialism and its downfall."
Aldona Jonaitis, Director Emerita, Museum of the North, University of Alaska, Author, Art of the Northwest Coast

"Gyaangee is a wonderfully produced short film that snapshots and introduces the viewer to an iconic Indigenous cultural art form as well as one of its master craftsmen. With a gentle reverence, Haida artist Robert Davidson establishes a foundation of intrigue into this important cultural form of communication while exploring his artistic process and the meaning behind his work. This film is an excellent resource for introducing Indigenous studies in Art, Anthropology, and Sociology courses, as well as for students of any age. I highly recommend it."
Seth Thomas Sutton (Odawa), Professor and Chair, Arts and Humanities, Montcalm Community College, Author, The Deconstruction of Chief Blackhawk

"Highly Recommended...Impactful...This short film is highly recommended for middle school and older. It is a brief but well-crafted introduction to the art and meaning of the totem pole."
Jasmine Smith, Alvernia University, Educational Media Reviews Online

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Canadian Studies
Environmental Ethics
Indigenous Peoples
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Related Titles

Haida Modern
Portrait of Haida artist, Robert Davidson, whose art and activism point the way towards a renewed connection with the natural world, perhaps saving us from ourselves.

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