Watch NOW IS THE TIME Free During Weekend of Davidson Events
The 16-minute short documentary film Now is the Time about internationally renowned Haida carver Robert Davidson will be screening for free at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art every 30 minutes Friday, April 28 - Sunday, April 30 during museum hours (11 am - 5 pm). The film will also be available to view online Friday - Sunday on fhff.org.
In 1969, when internationally renowned Haida carver Robert Davidson was only 22 years old, he was instrumental in changing the history of his people forever.
During visits to museums in Vancouver, Davidson had seen photographs of Old Massett Village, with its forest of totem poles facing the sea; but at home, there was nothing left. It wasn’t just the totems that had been razed and destroyed: Haida songs, ceremonies, and culture had also been obliterated. “I would go and visit the elders, and they seemed really, like, not connecting to anything,” he says. “I could feel the sadness, and I wanted to create an occasion for them to celebrate one more time.”
With help from his grandparents, his father, and his younger brother Reg, Davidson committed to carving the first new totem pole in almost a century.
On the 50th anniversary of the pole’s raising, Haida filmmaker Christopher Auchter steps easily through history to revisit that day in August 1969, when the entire village gathered to celebrate an event that would signal the rebirth of the Haida spirit. Resplendent with original footage shot by what was then known as the NFB’s Indian Film Crew, Now Is the Time is filled with archival images, animation, and emotional interviews with Robert, Reg, and Haida scholar Barbara Wilson.
The film’s bright, kaleidoscopic scenes show women dancing in their bare feet, men egging each other on, elders wearing paper headdresses, and children drawn in gorgeous watercolour hues. Everywhere is the sound of laughter and tears, as three generations of Eagle and Raven clan come together to raise the pole in the old way, inching it higher and higher, until it stands proud and strong against the clear blue sky.
In his studio, Robert Davidson smiles at the memory. “I was just a young smart-aleck kid thinking I was going to teach the elders something, but it turned around,” he says. “It was the other way around.”
A scene from Now is the Time
The screening of Now is the Time is part of a weekend of special events celebrating Haida art and culture with renowned artist Robert Davidson as he shares his incredible journey and passion for revitalizing indigenous art. In addition to the screening of Haida Modern, the weekend of special events begins with a free screening of the documentary feature film, Haida Modern, and also includes an artist talk at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art and a book signing at Griffin Bay Bookstore of Davidson's newest publication, Echoes of the Supernatural: The Graphic Art of Robert Davidson. The weekend of Robert Davidson events is sponsored by Jay and Suzy Wakefield.