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Esquimalt, British Columbia, Canada, 2007/02/14 - The Esquimalt Nation honors Darlene Gait, one of its members on Saturday February 17 with a Totem Pole Raising Ceremony to commemorate the opening of the One Moon Gallery to showcase her paintings and art.
The Gallery is located at 1192 Kosapsum Crecent directly across the new buildings of the Band Council and the Long House on the Esquimalt Reserve.
The ceremonies will include a presentation by Lou Charlie, an elder representing the Band, a Native Dance group from Esquimalt, as well as the presence of Chief Andy Thomas as well as Coast Salish artist Doug La Fortune who carved the pole, and other members of the Esquimalt Nation and community at large.
The pole is a gift from George Thomas to his sister Anna Marie Gait, both of whom are elders of the Esquimalt Nation. The pole was originally carved and presented in honor of Rob Thomas and Joe Thomas who were the best friends of Doug La Fortune. It represents an eagle and a dragon which remembers the spirit of those being honored. The pole will be placed in front of the One Moon Gallery and dedicated to all the people of the Esquimalt Nation.
Darlene Gait is an accomplished First Nation artist who began painting as a child. Darlene's paintings and poetry celebrate her love for her Coast Salish culture and her images bring to life the rich traditions and oral history of the First People of the north west. Her art also reflects her passion for protecting the environment and wildlife, as well as her Baha'i beliefs in the oneness of humanity and the beauty of its diversity. Her work is unique in that it is created with emotions that allow the viewer to connect and relate to the stories told through her brush.
Darlene is recognized internationally, her art is exhibited and held in private and public collections worldwide. Her art has been featured on the cover of national publications in the United States and her images are published by Rizvan Fine Arts, Island Art as well as Orca Publishing. Darlene has completed many commissions as a book illustrator of Native stories for children,including the best seller 'The Secret of the Dance' written by Andrea Spalding and Judge Alfred Scow, which takes readers back to a time when the Potlatch was once banned in Canada.
Darlene's paintings are often inspired by her vivid dreams.She believes her dreams must be captured by her brush and poetry and then shared. Darlene feels bound by the responsibility to depict all her images with scientific and historical accuracy, as she considers her art to be part of the oral history of her culture. She is self taught and has studied commercial illustration, graphic design and multimedia.
Darlene Gait has received many awards including The Book Illustrator of the Year Award, Verse and Vision Peoples Choice Award, and The Aboriginal Achievement Foundation Award, to name a few. Her exhibitions have received wide press and television coverage. Darlene is an invited member of the Worldwide Nature Artists Group (WNAG), the world's foremost international organization of nature artists, dedicated to the celebration and preservation of our natural heritage, and includes such prominent artists as Robert Bateman, John Banovich, Gamini Ratnavira, and David Shepherd.
Darlene Gait lives in Vancouver Island, with her family. She supports many non-profit organizations through volunteering and through her donations of art. She is an active member of the of Art for Development Foundation as well as Partners For Prosperity.