Westbank First Nation Grand Chief and renowned artist Noll Derriksan dies at 79 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Westbank First Nation Grand Chief and renowned artist Noll Derriksan dies at 79

Grand Chief Noll Derriksan died Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, at the age of 79.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Suki Derriksan

Westbank First Nation leader and artist Noll Derriksan died Wednesday evening from "natural consequences," according to his wife Suki Derriksan. He was 79.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of a beloved father and husband and community member,” Suki told iNFOnews.ca today, Feb. 21. “He was a Grand Chief to the Westbank First Nation and will be deeply missed.”

Suki is working on the memorial service details, which have yet to be announced.

Noll was born in Kelowna on Aug. 10, 1940, and grew up in the wilderness in Westbank during the 1940s and 1950s, according to a biography posted on the Penticton Art Gallery website promoting an exhibition of is work in 2018.

"Noll was an internationally renowned artist and had many forms of inspiration, many from which came from our land and animals," states a release from Westbank First Nation. "He had created numerous paintings, pottery, and graphics. He was very supportive to new and merging artists and had developed numerous programs, not only for our members but province wide. Art was truly his greatest passion and to take part of amazing history of BC Native Art. He spent long hours creating art with his beloved son Jayes, who meant the world to him.

"Noll was very active in his politics and was first elected to a council position in June 9, 1966. Then he was elected Chief of Westbank First Nation for the terms of June 9, 1968 until June 12, 1974. He was one of the younger Chiefs during that time not only within our nation but across Canada. Noll was and extremely innovative thinker and a firm believer in Title and Rights for indigenous peoples."

He attended both George Pringle junior and high schools.

“Derriksan is one of the earliest professional visual artists from the Okanagan Nation drawing his inspiration from his childhood teachings, archetypal characters and the native species of the Okanagan including tadpoles, frogs, porcupines, skunks and geese,” the Penticton Art Gallery biography states. “A true Renaissance artist, Noll worked in many mediums, synthesizing and articulating his ancestral heritage through an impressive body of work including graphics, original paintings, pottery and silver.”

He was largely self-taught but went on to become one of B.C.’s most recognized First Nation artist and teacher.

“As the Executive President of the National Indian Arts and Crafts Corporation based in Ottawa, he promoted Native Art across Canada, establishing societies in each of the ten Province and two Territories,” the website states.

For more than 17 years he was President of the BC Indian Arts and Crafts Society that provided grants to artists and craftsmen. He also helped organize an annual exhibit showcasing Native arts and crafts in Vancouver, it stated.

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