The Copper Sun Gallery was established in 2015 with the intention of providing a venue for Nuxalk artists to sell and receive fair prices for their work.
Located on traditional Nuxalk territory on the Central Coast in beautiful Bella Coola, B.C., the Copper Sun Gallery carries all locally-made, handcrafted Nuxalk art.
Nuxalk art has a distinctive style and features particular designs that are unique to Nuxalk territory and family crests. In particular, the use of a vibrant blue has long been a identifying hallmark of Nuxalk art, the “Bella Coola Blue.”
As Nuxalk master carver Alvin Mack explains, “the art is the vessel for the culture, it’s how we communicate our history and tell our smayustas (creation) stories.”
Smayustas, or creation stories, are tied to family crests and also a shared history. They are the reason Nuxalk art is crafted, and each piece made by a Nuxalk artist is carrying this history.
After suffering heavily from the effects of colonization and smallpox the Nuxalk were reduced from 30,000 members on the Central Coast to 150. Since then, the art has played a significant role in revitalizing the Nuxalk culture and identity as coastal people.
It is said that the art is currently in an ‘awakening’ period, having lay dormant for so many years after the decimation, and is now flourishing in this tiny, remote village on the coast.
There are several young artists of distinction working alongside an accomplished generation of master carvers, and the local schools provide extensive training in the art through established programs.
Nuxalk artists of all ages have been the recipients of notable awards and scholarships.
At the Copper Sun Gallery we value our relationships with our artists and are committed to ensuring our customers are completely satisfied with their purchase of authentic Nuxalk art.