Carey Newman, whose traditional name is Hayalthkin’geme, is a multi-disciplinary artist, carver, filmmaker, author and public speaker. Through his father, he is Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw from the Kukwaḵ̓a̱m, Gix̱sa̱m, and Wawałaba’yi clans of northern Vancouver Island, and Coast Salish from Xwchíyò:m (Cheam) of the Stó:lō S’olh Temexw (traditional territories) along the upper Fraser Valley. On his mother’s side of the family, his ancestors are English, Irish, and Scottish Settlers. In his artistic practice he strives to highlight Indigenous, social, and environmental issues as he examines the impacts of colonialism and capitalism, harnessing the power of material truth to unearth memory and trigger the necessary emotion to drive positive change. He is also interested in engaging with community and incorporating innovative methods derived from traditional teachings and Indigenous worldviews into his process.
Highlights from his career include being selected as the master carver of the Cowichan 2008 Spirit Pole, a journey that saw him travel the province of BC sharing the experience of carving a 20’ totem with over 11,000 people; a major commission entitled “Dancing Wind” installed at the 2010 Olympic Games, Athletes Village in Whistler; premiering the documentary he wrote and co-directed at the Vancouver International Film Festival as well as publishing his first book. He also continues to create for and consult with corporations, government agencies, collectors and museums around the world.
Perhaps his most influential work, The Witness Blanket, made of items collected from residential schools, government buildings and churches across Canada, deals with the subject of Truth and Reconciliation. It is now part of the collection at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Carey was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in 2017, was named to the Order of British Columbia in 2018, and is the inaugural Impact Chair in Indigenous Art Practices at the University of Victoria. In June of 2023 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws, honoris causa, by Royal Roads University.
“There is a power within art and artistic practice to change consciousness, to make people feel things in a different way…when I think about my career, I break it into two parts: there was my early career, where I was working around the commercial market, making art for sale, and what I do now, which is more of a socially engaged practice where I am looking at issues.”
Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa
Royal Roads University
National Opera Directors Recognition Award
Honourary Citizen Award- City of Victoria
Community Leadership Awards – Extending Reconciliation Award
Blue Ribbon – The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Order of British Columbia
ProArt Regional Arts Award
PARC Mid-Career Artist Award
The Chancellery of Honours – Governor General of Canada – Meritorious Service Medal
Muskrat Magazine Indigenous Heroes
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