Artist Carey Newman, originally from Sooke, received the Order of B.C. award this year for his installation called The Witness Blanket. The Witness Blanket is a wooden installation made out of hundreds of items from residential schools, churches, government buildings, and cultural structures. (Photo contributed)

Island artist receives Order of B.C. award

Carey Newman created Witness Blanket that travelled across the Nation

Over the course of artist Carey Newman’s career, he’s carving a path for reconciliation.

Newman grew up living on Kaltasin Road in Sooke, and at 12 years old started selling his work at the museum, as well as at the Sooke Fine Arts Show.

“I’ve been doing art since I was five years old, but those were two really big moments in my life, where I earned what I considered a significant amount of money for my work,” said Newman.

Coming from a long line of First Nation artists and carvers, becoming an artist was a natural fit for him. Newman creates various pieces and uses multiple different mediums, including jewelry, wood carvings, stone sculptures, and totem poles.

“I make indigenous art, that is sort of the basis of it, but I do everything from prints to full-scale totems,” Newman said.

“At different times I like different mediums for different reasons, but I think the one that I always go back to is wood carvings. It’s very satisfying, working with wood and in honour of my ancestors.”

Newman said art is an outlet for him, and he loves to challenge himself when creating a new piece.

“Each piece has meaning behind it. I ask questions to who I’m working with and shape my pieces off that,” he said.

Over the years Newman’s style slowly evolved. He never had a goal of creating art for reconciliation, he said it just sort of happened.

“I have been doing this for over 30 years, and more recently I have been doing projects that are more community involved, such as the Witness Blanket,” said Newman.

RELATED: Witness Blanket: Weaving pieces of history

The Witness Blanket is a wooden installation made out of hundreds of items from residential schools, churches, government buildings, and cultural structures.

Newman travelled all over Canada meeting with more than 10,000 people, hearing their stories and gathering items for the blanket. A documentary was created along the way, which helped share the stories and spread the truth around what took place in residential schools.

“Each piece on the blanket has a story, but it also opens up conversation and memories of those who look at it,” said Newman. “My father was in a residential school, so I wanted to do something that told the whole story.”

The Witness Blanket has been toured across the country to educate people, and because of this project, Newman received an Order of B.C. award this year.

“I am humbled, and I recognize the honour of this award, but I am hesitant to celebrate when there is so much work left to be done,” said Newman, giving an example that over 100 reserves still don’t have clean water to drink. “Before the Witness Blanket, I thought reconciliation meant bringing people together, but as I heard the stories, I better understood the damage that was caused.”

Newman plans to continue doing pieces that engage the community, to be a voice for indigenous people, and hopes that his work will leave a lasting impact on society. He recently was given a position as an art professor at the University of Victoria, where he will begin this fall.

“This project changed what I feel is important, and I can’t turn it off. I want to use this voice I have now to continue to speak about truth,” said Newman.

“The world is a crazy place these days, and history shows that in a time of craziness, art is so important. I want to use it to send a message. I’m sprinting to keep up with the ideas in my head, I want to get them all done before I run out of time.”



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

2018 municipal election: Few surprises on Vancouver Island

16 incumbent mayors will continue in their positions for four more years

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

Chemainus Theatre’s Outside Mullingar an Irish romantic comedy for the ages

A love story with all the charm and romance of Ireland wrapped… Continue reading

Woman speaks out after alleged sexual assault at Duncan Walmart

Allegations launched against man with ties to Ladysmith community

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. man sets new Canadian marathon record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Cam Levins ran it in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

Leaving B.C.’s electoral reform to a referendum is ‘ridiculous’: professor

B.C. voters getting ballots in the mail on proposal to change electoral system

Most Read