Haida Modern

Director Charles Wilkinson's evocative documentary beautifully explores how the artist Robert Davidson brought Haida culture back to its people.

In the 50 years since he carved his first totem pole and saw it raised on Haida Gwaii, Robert Davidson has come to be regarded as one of the world’s foremost modern artists. And yet, in the insightful interviews captured here, he retains a remarkably soft-spoken manner and a charming humility that belies what an influential figure he’s become in both the realms of art and activism. In listening to his sage words and admiring his sublime handiwork, we come to understand how widespread appreciation of his art has stoked interest in the 14,000-year-old culture that spawned it and motivated non-Indigenous Canadians to support First Nations activists intent on defending their heritage and the land they hold sacred.

Charles Wilkinson (Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World) brings his trademark inquisitiveness and craftsmanship to this revealing portrait of an unassuming living legend. Weaving together engaging interviews with the artist’s offspring and a host of admirers from all walks of life, Haida Modern leaves you inclined to believe Davidson when he surmises that art may just possess the power to save us from ourselves.


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