Carey Newman (b. 1975) whose traditional name is Hayalthkin’geme, is a multi-disciplinary Indigenous artist, master carver, filmmaker, author, mentor, and public speaker. Through his father, he is Kwakwak’awakw from the Kukwekum, Giiksam, and WaWalaby’ie clans of northern Vancouver Island, and Coast Salish from Cheam of the Sto:lo Nation along the upper Fraser Valley. Through his mother, he is a Settler of English, Irish, and Scottish heritage. Newman’s father Victor Newman, his great grandfather Charlie James, and his great aunt Ellen Neel are all renowned woodcarvers. Being of British, Kwagiulth & Salish descent allows him to draw inspiration from each culture, mastering as many techniques and mediums as possible as one of the keys to his continued success.
Carey Newman is best known for his powerful art installation ‘The Witness Blanket’ made with over 800 items collected from Indian residential school survivors and from the former residential school buildings. It was Carey Newman’s father Victor, himself a residential school survivor, who inspired him to create this ambitious work. Funded by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the 12-meter-long cedar installation recognizes the atrocities of the Indian residential school era, honours the children, and symbolizes ongoing reconciliation. Between 2016 and 2018, the Witness Blanket toured on exhibition across Canada and is part of the permanent collection at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. An accompanying book entitled ‘Picking Up the Pieces, Residential School Memories and the Making of the Witness Blanket’ chronicling its creation alongside survivor’s stories was published by Carey Newman and Kirstie Hudson in 2019.
Newman has also undertaken major monumental commissions. He was selected as the Master Carver of the 20 foot 2008 Spirit Pole that saw him travel throughout British Columbia sharing and collaborating on its carving with over 11,000 people. The ‘Victory of Spirit, a Story in Wood’ symbolizes the strength of a People: healing through sharing, sharing through learning, and learning through generations. The pole echoes the past, pays tribute to the present, and looks to the future.
Newman completed a major commission for the 2010 Olympic Games in Whistler, BC entitled “Dancing Wind”, which consisted of a series of panels representing wind directions, animals, and colours that correspond to the Indigenous medicine wheel.
Carey was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in 2017 and was named to the Order of British Columbia in 2018.
Newman is the current Audain Professor of Contemporary Art Practice of the Pacific Northwest at the University of Victoria.