In his carving, Jaalen pays close attention to the rules of Haida Formline design which has been a feature of his people’s artistic work for centuries.  In his carvings, Jaalen takes his monumental sculpture down a scale to a refinement that, particularly in his box designs, is truly stunning.  His studies with Gwaai of ancestral box makers’ works in museums around the world led to their Great Box Project at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, during which he and Gwaai carved and painted a response box entitled the Great Box Considered.  For the green paint around the eyes of Kuna Ka t’aa, the Wealth Bringer, they brought pigment from Needan (Naden Harbour) on Haida Gwaii and worked with museum staff to match it with the paint on the box and create a latex-based paint for the new box.

Click image to view the Gidansda Settee

Jaalen has three major carved pieces (alongside his poles) that are being exhibited in Museums.  The Gidansda Settee (2017) and the Great Box Considered (2015) are both being exhibited at the Haida Gwaii Museum at Kay Llnagaay in Skidegate.  You can find out more about the Great Box Project and link to more resources here, and the read story of the Gidansda Settee here.

Click image to view Storytellers and Language Keepers

Storytellers and Language Keepers (2014), on exhibit at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, is quite distinct from Jaalen’s other larger works in that it takes a unique form: the red cedar sculpture is in the shape of a six foot tall Haida designed ear.  The design within the ear shape is a tribute to women’s role in passing on Xaad Kil/Xaayda Kil, the Haida language, to the next generation over thousands of years.  It is at the RBCM as part of the Our Living Languages: First Peoples’ Voices in B.C. exhibit that explores all the First Nations languages across BC and the impact colonialism has had on their survival.

View a gallery of Jaalen’s carvings.


© 2024 Jaalen Edenshaw
© 2024 Jaalen Edenshaw