(b.1945, Coast Salish (Squamish Nations) and Kwakwaka’wakw)
Uniqueness and innovation lie within the originality of Kukwits’ gesture and palette as his paintings push beyond the traditional Northwest Coast formline. Coastal design elements conventionally instated as bold and contained within carved works transform into painterly movement via Kukwits’ sweeping fluid brushstroke. This fluidity is emphasized by his vibrant colour schemes and the syncopation of both warm and cool tones.
While some formal elements of abstraction and modernism are evoked in Kukwits’ painting, there is also an underlying fascination with language. In the recurrence of patterns and motifs, Kukwits’ is interested in the syntax of visual signifiers (glyphs) and how meaning communicates beyond the verbal. Much of his practice forms part of a broader exploration of a vocabulary focused on gesture and form rather than direct language.
Gigaemi Kukwits lives and works in Vancouver, BC and is of Coast Salish (Squamish Nations) and Kwakwaka’wakw heritage. His chiefly name was appointed in a cedar bark ceremony by his uncle Simon Baker and derives from his grandparents of the Musgamakw Dzawada’Enuxw First Nations. At a young age, Kukwits’ trained under artists Douglas Cranmer, Mungo Martin and Mathias Joe. He briefly attended and studied at the Vancouver school of Art (Emily Carr University of Art + Design) in 1967.