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Culture Days will return September 20 – October 13, 2024.

Open Studio with Indigenous Carver/Jeweller: YaYa Heit

Design History & heritage Indigenous Visual arts
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Skwachàys Lodge

Vancouver, BC



Offered in English.


Ever wanted to see the place where an artist's dreams come to life? Gitxan artist-in-residence, YaYa Heit, opens his studio to welcome visitors and share his artistic practise in original jewellery-making and carving design. View works of art in various stages of development and learn about the artistic vision fuelling this senior artist's practise.

About the Artist: YaYa Heit was introduced to the art of carving wood by his uncle, Chief Walter Harris in 1970. Shortly thereafter, he was accepted at the Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art and Design. By the young age of eighteen, Heit had gone from student to teacher. While teaching, he remained apprenticed to his uncle, working on large commissions; 30- 45 foot poles, panels and house posts.

In 1986, Heit and his mother were commissioned to create a Button Blanket, which was displayed at Expo ’86. Two years later, Heit and five other carvers were commissioned to carve the posts and beams for a longhouse on the nearby Kitwanga Reserve. Soon after, at the Vancouver Art Gallery Exhibition, titled Topographies, Heit’s Chief’s Chair was one of the most outstanding works. More recently, his work has been featured in exhibitions by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and the American Federation of Arts in New York. He has been an artist-in-residence at Skwachàys Lodge since 2017.



Skwachàys Lodge

The Artists in Residence opportunity at Skwachàys Lodge is a unique and life-changing housing program for practicing Indigenous artists. This includes subsidized housing in clean, unfurnished bachelor suites, 24/7 access to shared artist workshop, and access to programming opportunities for personal and professional development that help artists develop their craft and move into the next phase of their careers. Skwachàys Lodge is an extraordinary boutique hotel and Canada’s first Indigenous arts hotel. Located in the heart of Vancouver’s historic downtown, this stunning addition to the local urban landscape offers guests an authentic Indigenous experience while providing the highest quality personalized service.




This event is part of a hub:

Skwachàys Lodge Indigneous Artists Hub

Skwachàys Lodge Vancouver, BC

For 2019, we are showcasing the talents of our Indigenous artists with events that include an evening of Indigenous cinema (Fri. Sept. 27), artist workshops Saturday and Sunday morning, along with open studio visits and artist talks. We are...