Artist: Morris (Moy) Hiish-Miik Chiotun Sutherland
Tribal Affiliation: Nuu-chah-nulth
Born: January 4, 1974
Birthplace: Ahousaht (Vancouver Island)
As a boy Morris Sutherland (Moy) was very close to his culture and was always interested in native art. In 1995, with the encouragement from family and friends, Moy began his carving career. He first learned the principals of carving from Joe Wilson in Alert Bay. Upon mastering some basic techniques, he moved home to learn more about the Nuh-cha-nulth style from Mark Mickey and Ron Hamilton in Port Alberni.
Moy worked under long time friend and artist Carey Newman, at the Blue Raven Gallery in Sooke, B.C., where he is the fortunate recipient of council from renowned carver Victor Newman. More recently, Moy has been creating bentwood boxes, panels and totem poles in his carving studio.
Moy draws his motivation from life experience. He has worked as an archaeological assistant in Vancouver Island’s famous Clayoquot Sound. He has worked as a tree planter, creek cleaner and gardener. The common theme here is closeness with nature. Considering that Moy has always found peace in the forest, it is fitting that nature is his greatest source of inspiration.
Moy has the benefit of having learned from both Kwagiulth and Nuu-cha-nuith artists. He has used these experiences to broaden his understanding of all native art forms. Although he is very careful to stay within the traditional rules and values of his culture, he strives to find ways to set himself apart from the other artists. He is exploring different mediums, such as gemstones and silkscreen prints. For Moy, art is very deeply rooted in his culture. He finds it both spiritually rewarding and educational.
Morris comes from a very traditionally rooted family where the Nuu-cha-nulth culture is a large part of everyday life. Aside from artwork, he is pursuing a degree in anthropology. Artwork and anthropology are natural interests for Moy, because both meet on a journey into the history of his people, a journey that will reach its ultimate destination when he discovers the essence of art and culture. Moy’s work is in galleries and private collections across Canada and in the United States.
“For me, the meaning of life is to learn of my cultural surroundings, so that this knowledge can
be preserved and used in everyday life. Like our elders before us passed this knowledge on, so must we to our descendants. In this manner, respect becomes an integral part of life, respect for everything. 1 draw my knowledge and inspiration from the teachings of those whom 1 respect.”