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

City of Campbell River making headway on invasive species treatment

Too many private property owners unresponsive to notifications regarding knotweed, however

Campbell River Ravens swept out of PNWLL playoffs

The Campbell River Ravens were swept out of the Jr. B Pacific… Continue reading

Land-based aquaculture proponent gets Haig-Brown Conservation Award

Eric Hobson known for financing and building Kuterra in partnership with ‘Namgis First Nation

La Familia gets Campbell River’s River City Arts Festival swaying to the music

Campbell River Arts Festival was treated to the sounds of Latin music… Continue reading

Disaster risk reduction course open to Campbell River high school students this fall

SRD protective services coordinator hopes program will eventually become integrated into curriculum

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Police ask for help locating missing men last seen in South Surrey

Jeep that Richard Scurr and Ryan Provencher were in has been located unoccupied in Logan Lake: RCMP

Islanders have new cancer screening option with $6.5 M diagnostic suite in Victoria

The Gordon Heys Family PET/CT Suite was unveiled at the BC Cancer Centre-Victoria

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

B.C. Ferries crew member’s medical emergency causes cancellations on Nanaimo route

One sailing from West Vancouver and one sailing from Nanaimo cancelled Monday

Most Read