Coming Home To

Photo: of an art installation called Coming Home To
King Edward

Coming Home To

By Robin Roberts

Image shows a detail of “Coming Home To” by Robin Roberts.

This artwork, depicts animals drawn in northern Haida style Formline. The inspiration came from the artist sketching while listening to Aboriginal Studies professors speak about the Indian Act, the creation of reserves and residential schools. He found himself continually drawing boxes that are representative of attempts to confine or “box in” Indigeneity.

The left and right windows depict a bentwood box frontlet figure and a killer whale. The center window depicts, from left to right, an eagle with a human figure, a Bear Mother story, and a raven stealing the sun, with a salmon egg as the sun.

Three of Robin’s grandparents went to residential school, with the fourth attending day-school. Due to Canadian attempts at erasure, there is a concept of “coming back home,” or “coming back home to our people, or culture.” This work is in honour of that return, through the Bear Mother story.

Robin Roberts was born in Prince Rupert, BC, and is a member of the Skidegate Band Council of the Haida Nation. He also descends from the Ts’msyen and various Coast Salish nations. Robin would like to thank the x”mək əyəm, Skwxwú7mesh and sǝlilwǝta? nations for the opportunity to show his art in their stolen territories. He thanks the local Peoples who have lived here protecting their land and their rights to them forever and continue to do so.

As an artist Robin concentrates mostly on Haida/Ts’msyen Formline 2D design and carving in cedar. He has recently started to dabble in digital art forms.

This artwork was commissioned by the City of Vancouver Public Art Program for Platforms: Nine Places for Seeing.