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Okanagan College adds Indigenous wood carving to curriculum

Okanagan College is welcoming a master carver and Indigenous artist to carry on the traditional skills and knowledge of Indigenous wood carving.

Darren McKenzie is a Cree and Metis artist from Vancouver. For over 25 years, McKenzie has been honing the art of wood working.

<who>Photo credit: Okanagan College</who>

McKenzie has developed a course at Okanagan College to inspire the next generation of carvers.

The new course- Indigenous Wood Sculpting- will run from Feb. 2-18, and again from Mar. 2-18, at the Kelowna Campus on Friday evenings and weekends.

“This course is a bit of a hybrid,” explains McKenzie. “It will be a blend of traditional carving and Indigenous wood carving, but it’s going to be very open-ended. We’ll delve into any techniques and styles the students want to learn.”

The new course will cater to all skill levels.

“There will be something for everyone,” says McKenzie. “We’ll work through everything from basic drawing, design and carving, to some more advanced elements.”

<who>Photo credit: Okanagan College</who>

McKenzie began carving in 1993 under the instruction of Salish Artist Gerry Sheena.

He later completed a four-year apprenticeship with master carver Ken Mowatt at the ‘Ksan Historical Village and Museum in Hazelton, B.C.

McKenzie’s art has been displayed in galleries and museums all across North America.

“I’m always excited to hang out with like-minded people and pass on my knowledge,” says McKenzie. “I hope everyone comes away inspired to keep on learning and keep on carving.”

For more information, visit the Okanagan College website.

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