Art Thompson (Tsa Qwa Supp) belonged to the Ditidaht band of the Nuu-chah-nulth people on Vancouver Island. Born in 1948 in the remote village of Whyac, he maintained involvement in the cultural life of his community. Thompson was largely a self-taught artist, though he took courses at Camosun College and The Vancouver School of Art, and who began drawing and painting at an early age. As well, he benefited from the experience of having a father and grandfather who were carvers. Significant, too, were his studies with Ron Hamilton and Joe David, two of the artist most responsible for he resurgence of Nuu-chah-nulth art.
Having worked in conjunction with numerous artists over the years and has developed his own unique interpretation of the ancient Nuu-chah-nulth art form in over 100 published serigraphs, his chosen artform. His artistic contributions have been photographed and documents in numerous magazines, books and periodicals, many of which include feature articles, and his work is held in collections world-wide in Canada, the United States, and Singapore.
Thompson was initiated into the Tloo-Kwalla or Wolf Society, a tribal initiation ceremony that had been passed down through the generations and besides his renown as a visual artist he attained recognition for his knowledge and practice of the traditional Nuu-chah-nulth culture. Thompson was also a tireless fighter for all those who suffered the abuses of the residential school system.
Tragically, Art Thompson passed away from cancer in 2003.
Sources: UVic Archived Artist Bios