June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada, a time to recognize the histories, unique cultures, traditions and experiences of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. For generations, many Indigenous groups and communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on June 21 or around this time of year because of the significance of the summer solstice as the longest day of the year. Thus, National Aboriginal Day, now National Indigenous Peoples Day, was announced in 1996 by then Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc and is celebrated with community events and activities across the country. 

One way to support National Indigenous History Month is to delve into the arts, starting with a visit to one of several local galleries and cultural centres in and around Metro Vancouver, to experience and to learn about Indigenous Art. With a range of artistic styles, and price points, there’s something for everyone, from the first-time art buyer, to the seasoned art collector looking to add that next special piece to their collection. To get started, here are seven places to buy Indigenous Art in Metro Vancouver:  

Vancouver’s North Shore

Spirit Gallery

In scenic Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver is Spirit Gallery, a gallery and gift shop which features Northwest Coast Art. Established in 1991, Spirit Gallery is run by West Vancouver local, Erin Sam, and her husband, the renowned Squamish/Kwakwaka’wakw artist, Klatle-bhi. Together, they have operated the gallery since 2003. Spirit Gallery showcases a diverse collection of contemporary and traditional art and design, including silver, gold and copper jewellery, masks, totem poles, sculpture, and prints, and a wide range of unique gifts. Don’t miss the stand-out collection of carved and painted cedar panels, such as Yoe Yoes (Orca) Panel by Jim Charlie. 

Hours: Daily, 10am-6pm

Address: 6408 Bay Street, West Vancouver

Canadian Indigenous Art Inc

In North Vancouver, discover one of the largest collections of Indigenous Art in Canada at Canadian Indigenous Art Inc. Founded in 1999 by Maike Marnet, the gallery is dedicated to promoting Squamish Nation Artists. Artwork includes paintings, prints, photographs, wood carvings, ceramics, and more. Peruse unique collections, such as carvings of West Coast Birds, like Hummingbird by Chris Joseph, or contemporary ceramics, like the Ceramic Bowl – Frog by Stewart Jacobs. 

Summer hours: Monday to Friday, 10am-6pm, and Saturday from 10am-4pm

Address: 827 West 3rd St, North Vancouver


Living Indigenous Art

Living Indigenous Art brings us the exquisite engraved jewellery of Cristiano Bruno, known as Matilpi, who has been creating art from a young age. His father is Italian and his mother is a member of the Kwakiutl First Nation from Alert Bay, BC. He spent his childhood years in Cosenza in Southern Italy, surrounded by picturesque landscapes, art, music, and culture. At 15, he moved back to Vancouver, where he learned to carve in sterling silver and gold, apprenticing under the guidance of his uncle, Charles Harper, a Master Carver of the Carrier Nation. 

Preview Living Indigenous Art’s intricate jewellery work on his website and to contact the artist directly to schedule a studio visit. 


Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre

Opened in 2008, the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) is a non-profit, Indigenous-owned organization, located in Whistler. It aims to share the cultural knowledge of the Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation, who have coexisted respectfully as neighbours since time immemorial. The SLCC’s vision is to inspire understanding and respect among all people, and it embodies the spirit of partnership between two unique Nations who wish to preserve, grow and share their traditional cultures. Spend a day experiencing the current exhibitions: Declaration of the Lilloeet Tribes, Ta na wa Yúus ta Stitúyntsam̓ / skel7áw̓lh (The person who protects the land / Steward of the land), and Summer Salish Carving Series. Complete your visit at the gift shop, which specializes in authentic and exclusive handcrafted Northwest Coast First Nations merchandise. Shop a range of artwork and gifts including dreamcatchers, jewellery, wood carvings, art by Squamish and Lil’wat Nations, as well as other Indigenous artists. 

Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-5pm

Address: 4584 Blackcomb Way, Whistler


Blue Lotus Art Gallery

In Surrey, a visit to Blue Lotus Art Gallery, founded by Robert Blanchette, will take you around the world through the arts. The gallery’s vision is “to promote diversity and acceptance through art.” Inspired by his own world travels, where he observed how, beyond external differences, art connected people. Among its global art collection and photography by Canadian artists, Blue Lotus Art Gallery offers an extensive Indigenous Art collection, including wood carvings and paintings. The gallery also provides custom framing and printing services. 

Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10am-9pm, and Sunday from 10am-6pm

Address: Guildford Town Centre, Unit 2608 A, 10355 152 St, Surrey


Lattimer Gallery

Established in 1986 by Leona Lattimer and her husband, David, Lattimer Gallery promotes Northwest Coast Indigenous Art. You can find their beautiful, welcoming, Longhouse-inspired gallery space in Vancouver’s cool, art-and-design-focused Armoury District. The gallery is home to fine gold and silver jewellery, sculpture, masks, paintings, prints, and more. Among work by the numerous emerging and established artists they represent, is an extensive collection of limited edition prints by the renowned Coast Salish artist, Susan Point. You can also find Lattimer Gallery at their YVR Airport outpost, as well as two online stores, Native Art Prints, which specializes in vintage First Nations silkscreens, and Northwest Coast Gifts, for giftable objects like kitchen and homeware, apparel and jewellery. 

Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10am-5:30pm, and Sunday from 11am-5pm

Address: 1590 West 2nd Ave, Vancouver

Gallery Indigena

Located on Granville Island, Gallery Indigena specializes in Inuit sculpture and prints, Iroquois sculpture, paintings, and Northwest Coast masks and wood art. Founded over forty years ago by Erla Boyer, Gallery Indigena boasts three locations—Stratford, Toronto, and Vancouver. Their Inuit collection, in particular, showcases exemplary serpentine carvings of animals, hunters, family scenes, and shamanistic and mythological images, as well as prints. Annually, the gallery presents the Cape Dorset Print collection, celebrating the art and artists of Kinngait (Cape Dorset).  

Hours: Daily, 10am-6pm

Address: 101-1551 Johnston St, Granville Island, Vancouver

For convenience, you can browse and shop artwork and gifts online from all the above galleries on their websites. As well, you can visit Indigenous Tourism BC for a myriad of inspiring travel ideas, things to do, places to stay, and things to eat, and to further discover Indigenous culture. 

All photos from galleries’ official websites. 

Article by: Kristin Lim

Get there on TransitVisit TransLink’s Trip Planner to find your way to any of the above art spaces.

The post Where to Buy Indigenous Art in Metro Vancouver appeared first on West Coast Curated.