The youngest of the Haida carvers to show great promise is Jim Hart, who in 1988 supervised the construction of the Haida house in the Grand Hall of the Canadian Museum of Civilization. He was born in Masset and is a descendant of the famous shaman Dr. Kudé. Jim Hart apprenticed with Bill Reid on the monumental sculpture The Raven and the First Men. Previously, he had worked with Robert Davidson on the Charles Edenshaw Memorial Longhouse.
During his early years as an artist, Jim Hart exercised his skills in many media, including silver and gold jewellery, and prints that explore the range of supernatural and human beings that were appropriate to his family. He also carved a replica of a pole that once stood at Masset in the last century and that now graces the outdoor Haida village at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. A bronze miniature of this pole stands as a tribute to the pioneer ethnologist Marius Barbeau in the salon named after him at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
||This sculpture of a Beaver by Jim Hart is in the form of a traditional manda'a, or coffin support, used to display the burial chest of a high-ranking chief in his burial shed.
Commissioned in 1993 by the Canadian Museum of Civilization for its Grand Hall and installed in 1995.
In 1993, the Canadian Museum of Civilization commissioned Jim Hart to create a manda'a figure, whose traditional purpose was to support the coffin of a Haida chief. This sculpture takes its inspiration from a piece collected from Skedans by Charles F. Newcombe for the Field Museum, but Hart has embellished it with his own distinctive designs on the tail. The idea for this commission rose from the popularity of the manda'a figure of a Wasgo (or Sea Wolf) that Bill Reid carved for the Museum of Anthropology in 1964, based on a nineteenth-century one by Charles Edenshaw at the Royal British Columbia Museum.
Another challenge undertaken by Jim Hart was recreating on a monumental scale a small shamanic piece depicting a man and woman straddling a huge Frog carved by an unnamed master of Haida art, probably in the 1870s. This unknown artist is probably the author of a piece acquired by the Glenbow Museum from a New York collection in 1975, depicting a Chinese immigrant with a prominent queue and typical costume of the period, as well as a secret society headpiece (VII-B-110) in the collections of the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Jim Hart finished the tribute to the unknown artist early in 1995.
At an impressive potlatch held in Masset in 1995, the current Chief Edenshaw (Morris White) designated Jim Hart as his heir.
See the James Hart Collection in the Cyberboutique