Welcome Figure (RBCM 19114)

Coast Salish
Simon Charlie (Hwunumetse’)
Carved wooden human figure with arms outstretched in a welcome.

Welcome Figure

Man standing beside tall carved welcome figure.

Simon Charlie with the Welcome Figure carved for Expo67. PN 6188-15A.

Man working on the shoulder of the tall carved figure.

The deeply carved surface pattern typical of his carvings is evident in this photograph of Simon Charlie working on the Welcome Figure for Expo67. PN 6188-13A.

Man leaning over and working on the hand of the carved figure.

Simon Charlie carving the hand of the Welcome Figure for Expo67. The arms of the figure were carved separately and attached. PN 6276f.

Carved welcome figure being lifted by crane onto a truck bed.

The Welcome Figure being loaded on a truck for shipment to Montreal, 1967. PN6256-4.

Carved figures stood facing the beach in front of First Nations communities to welcome visitors arriving by canoe for potlatches and other events.  Simon Charlie carved this contemporary version of a Coast Salish welcome figure in Thunderbird Park at the Royal BC Museum for exhibition at Expo67 in Montreal,  where it was erected in the Indians of Canada pavilion along with works by Mungo Martin, George Clutesi and other prominent Indigenous artists from across Canada. It was returned to the Royal BC Museum and now stands in the museum’s lobby at the east entrance.

Simon Charlie, Hwunumetse’ (1920-2005), was a Cowichan carver based in Duncan on Vancouver Island, who influenced generations of Coast Salish artists and helped to make Coast Salish arts better known in Canada and internationally. His son, Cowichan elder Arvid Charlie, Dr Luschiim, carries on his cultural work.

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