Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun is the recipient of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Emerging Cultural Leader. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun is the recipient of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Emerging Cultural Leader. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)

Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun is the recipient of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Emerging Cultural Leader. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin) Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun is the recipient of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Emerging Cultural Leader. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)

Multi-disciplinary Snuneymuxw artist named ‘Emerging Cultural Leader’

Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun, receives City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award

On April 30, in lieu of a ceremony, City of Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog hand-delivered the 2021 Culture and Heritage Awards to this year’s winners. The city also released online video profiles of the recipients. This is the second in a four-part series on this year’s award winners. To read Part 1, click here.

Over the past year, Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun, went from displaying his work in a Nanaimo coffee shop to the Nanaimo Art Gallery and now he’s being recognized as an up-and-coming cultural leader.

The Snuneymuxw artist is recipient of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Emerging Cultural Leader. White-Hill said he’s honoured to receive the award and he’s thankful for those who have supported him as he’s developed his artistic practice.

“This year has been just so amazing,” he said. “How difficult it’s been with COVID, I just feel like it’s provided an opportunity for my art to flourish in ways that I had never expected.”

As for being lauded as an Emerging Cultural Leader, White-Hill said it’s a distinction that comes with pressure to uphold and he’s grateful for it.

“This is an expectation that I’ve put upon myself in taking on this work and I think this is an expectation that so many of us who are practising traditional art forms carry: to make sure that we’re doing things in the right way and that we’re respecting the teachings and the way to do things and going to the elders,” he said.

Aside from being featured in the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Rain Shadow exhibition, this past year White-Hill also painted murals inside the Beban Park pool, designed stickers for Tourism Nanaimo and created spindle whorl designs to accompany a report on anti-Indigenous racism and discrimination in B.C. health care.

White-Hill describes himself as an interdisciplinary artist whose practice is rooted in Coast Salish art. He said he started getting into art after his great-grandmother Ellen White, Kwulasulwut, died.

“I just realized how spoiled I’d been being able to go and sit with her and listen to her all the time and I realized that I have to do more to be able to learn and pass down the knowledge in the same way that she did,” White-Hill said. “And so that really propelled me to learn more and do more research and learning about Coast Salish culture and that really is what drove me towards the art.”

While he only started focusing on his visual art a few years ago, White-Hill said he’s always loved storytelling and has been a writer for “as long as I can remember.” He said visual art is just a new way for him to use his voice.

“It’s been empowering being able to express myself in this way and in a way that shares the Coast Salish world and shares that appreciation that I have for our teachings and traditions with other people,” he said.

White-Hill said there is a long history of Coast Salish art being either not represented or misrepresented and he hopes to address that through his art.

“It’s about re-contextualizing and bringing Snuneymuxw and our Coast Salish culture back to the surface and having that representation there for the kids who are growing up here, everyone who’s going to be here now and in the future,” he said. “Because it’s just such a rich history and it’s important to tell these stories and to talk about these things.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Just Posted

According to a staff report, Regional District of Nanaimo has seen some $13.6 million in grant applications approved between Jan. 1 and May 15. (News Bulletin file)
Close to $14 million in money granted to RDN in first half of year

Successful grants include more than $4 million for transit service in Regional District of Nanaimo

A section of the rail corridor on Vancouver Island. (Black Press file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Put rail trail right overtop of the tracks

Removing tracks would be a horrendous expense, says letter writer

District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Janice Coady, left, Aimee Chalifoux and Linda Milford at a vigil for Amy Watts on Wednesday, June 16, outside Nanaimo city hall. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
‘We need to do better,’ says mother of woman killed in Nanaimo

Vigil held for former outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found downtown June 3

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The B.C. woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

Most Read