Gwaai Edenshaw

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Gwaai Edenshaw
Born1977 (age 41–42)[1]
Skidegate, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
OccupationArtist, filmmaker, writer
Notable worksEdge of the Knife

Gwaai Edenshaw is a Haida artist and filmmaker from Canada.[2] Along with Helen Haig-Brown, he co-directed Edge of the Knife (SG̲aawaay Ḵ'uuna), the first Haida language feature film.[3]


The son of noted Haida artist Guujaaw (Gary Edenshaw), he was raised on Haida Gwaii.[4] At age 16, he went to Vancouver to apprentice as an artist with Bill Reid.[5] He received a diploma in jewellery design from Vancouver Community College.[2]


As an artist, Edenshaw has worked primarily in woodcarving and jewellery, as well as some work in sketch and painting.[4] His work has been exhibited in a number of galleries in both Canada and the United States,[2] and he curated a show on indigenous erotica in 2013.[6]

He created Haidawood, an animated web series which premiered in 2007, and cowrote the theatrical play Sounding Gambling Sticks with his brother Jaalen Edenshaw in 2008.[2] He wrote some Haida-inspired music for Bruce Ruddell's 2010 rock opera Beyond Eden.[7] He is a founding member of Q’altsi’da Kaa, a group which promotes traditional Haida storytelling.[2]

In 2017 Edenshaw and Haig-Brown began production on Edge of the Knife.[8] Based on the traditional Haida story of Gaagiixid the "wild man", who loses his grip on reality in the forest before being returned to his community in a healing ceremony,[3] the film had its theatrical premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.[9]

The film won the awards for Best Canadian Film and Best British Columbia Film at the Vancouver International Film Festival,[10] and the Sun Jury Award at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.[11] It won several year-end awards from the Vancouver Film Critics Circle, for Best Canadian Film, Best British Columbia Film, Best Director and Best Actor (Tyler York).[12] It was named to TIFF's annual year-end Canada's Top Ten list for 2018.[13]


  1. ^ "Gwaai Edenshaw – Lattimer Gallery". Archived from the original on 2016-04-09. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  2. ^ a b c d e Ryan McKenzie and Kevin Hinton (May 28, 2018). "Lunch with Edge of the Knife co-director Gwaai Edenshaw". BC Business. Archived from the original on 2018-07-23. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Porter, Catherine (June 11, 2017). "Reviving a Lost Language of Canada Through Film". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2017-11-13. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Sandals, Leah (September 13, 2018). "The Haida Language on Film, in Depth and at Last". Canadian Art. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  5. ^ Meredith, America (Fall 2018). "Gwaai Edenshaw: Haida Carver And Interdisciplinary Artist". First American Art Magazine.
  6. ^ Griffin, Kevin (November 18, 2013). "RezErected: Saying the 'p' word at the Bill Reid Gallery". Vancouver Sun.
  7. ^ "Beyond Eden builds a beautiful bridge". Vancouver Sun, January 23, 2010.
  8. ^ Marsha Lederman, "Making history on Haida Gwaii" Archived 2017-07-16 at the Wayback Machine. The Globe and Mail, June 22, 2017.
  9. ^ "First feature film shot in Haida premieres at TIFF" Archived 2019-01-02 at the Wayback Machine. Unreserved, September 14, 2018.
  10. ^ "In Brief: VIFF names BC Spotlight winners". Playback, October 11, 2018.
  11. ^ "Amanda Strong, Lisa Jackson win prizes as ImagineNative fest wraps" Archived 2018-12-27 at the Wayback Machine. Playback, October 22, 2018.
  12. ^ "Vancouver Film Critics Circle awards Haida-language 'Edge of the Knife'". CityNews, January 8, 2019.
  13. ^ "TIFF's Canada's Top Ten list skews a lot younger this year" Archived 2018-12-06 at the Wayback Machine. Now, December 5, 2018.

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