In the summer of 2010 Ben Davidson went to Haida Gwaii’s Swan Bay Rediscovery Camp along with his son Gavin, his apprentice Raven and a crew of other young people aged 13-18. Ben led an eight-day painting course in which they collaboratively painted three longhouse fronts. The Swan Bay Rediscovery Program is a cultural camp where youth learn about Haida cultural skills and knowledge while acquiring new life skills, self-esteem and confidence. With traditional Haida values at its center, youth at the camps participate in a variety of activities designed to challenge, teach, and nurture. Ben attended the Rediscovery camp in Masset when he was a boy and in the summer of 2010 he was able to contribute to the legacy of Rediscovery by working in collaboration with a group of young people to paint the front of the camp’s three longhouses. Each day Ben and the kids learnt about the outdoors, the ecology of Gwaii Haanas, and Haida culture. Aside from painting, they played games, swam, fished, hiked and sang Haida songs, experiencing first hand the wonder, beauty and cultural history of Haida Gwaii.
Just as Two-dimensional artists are able to reach greater audiences and experiment more freely with their work by creating limited edition silk screens, or prints of paintings, Ben, as a carver is able to create a more diverse and varied body of work, and experiment with different colour combinations by turning one carving into a limited edition of castings. Ben has his work cast for him by visual Artist Rosa Quintana in Agassiz British Columbia. Rosa has worked with Artists and Institutions including Bill Ried, Jim Hart, Liz Magor and the Vancouver Art Gallery. She has also taught at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and the Art Institute of Vancouver. Rosa is well known for her carvings, moulds, castings and paintings. The work that Rosa does for Ben is all technical. She starts by making a Silicone rubber mould from an original wood carving. She then creates the castings from that silicone mould. In the castings there is added fine Bronze powder, referred to as “cold” Bronze castings. The work is then returned to Ben who decides if the work should be included in the edition. If so, he signs it and ads any finishing touches before it becomes available for sale.