Bruce, Stephen - Tłaptłabani
Stephen Bruce Tłaptłabani was born in 1968, in 'Ya̱lis (Alert Bay) British Columbia. He is a member of the ‘Na̱mg̱is Tribe. He began to carve at the age of 18 with local carvers Las'stul'sa'las (Ned Matilpi), 'Walas G̱wa̱ʼya̱m (Beau Dick) and Kwamxalagalis (Wayne Alfred). Stephen has assisted numerous artists with monumental commissions earning him a reputation for monumental work, as well as the understanding and ability to answer to contractual obligations at a very early point in his career. This has continued to be a factor as he has received numerous commissions for totem poles, assisted on many large-scale projects including a replica Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw village for a theme park in Holland and he has completed a solo exhibition for the Derek Simpkins Gallery of Tribal Art.
Recently, Stephen was the Head Carver instructing two apprentices during two totem pole carving projects at the U’mista Cultural Centre at ʼYa̱lis.
Some of Stephen’s major works include:
1990 Commission - A supernatural Cod mask commissioned by the Campbell River Museum for their Permanent Collection and for a collection created to be loaned for ceremonial purposes.
1993 Exhibition - Talking Sticks, Derek Simpkins Gallery of Tribal Art, Vancouver British Columbia, catalogued exhibition.
1994 Exhibition – Transformation, A Unity of Spirits, Derek Simpkins Gallery of Tribal Art, Vancouver British Columbia, catalogued exhibition.
1995 Commission - 10 foot totem pole for ‘Na̱maǥis First Nation Cemetery, Alert Bay British Columbia. Totem pole commissioned as a territorial marker for cemetery boundary. A second pole was carved by Bruce Alfred and these are the first two poles erected in the historic site since the Doug Cranmer totem pole in 1979.
1995 Commission - Talking Stick commissioned by the Canadian National Railroad for their head office in Montreal Quebec.
1996 Exhibition - Above and Beyond, Derek Simpkins Gallery of Tribal Art, Vancouver British Columbia, catalogued exhibition.
1996 Exhibition - The Art of Stephen Bruce (first solo exhibition), Derek Simpkins Gallery of Tribal Art, Vancouver British Columbia, catalogued exhibition.
1997 Exhibition - Boxes and Bowls, Derek Simpkins Gallery of Tribal Art, Vancouver British Columbia (catalogued exhibition featuring the work of Stephen Bruce and Richard Sumner).
1997 Commission - Senior Carver for a recreation of a Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw village including several totem poles of greater that 25-feet, and three house fronts for the Dolfinerium Theme Park in Harderwiik, Holland.
1998 Commission - 18 foot totem pole commissioned by the Derek Simpkins Gallery of Tribal Art for the Mitsui Corporation, Tokyo Japan.
1998 Cultural Commission - One of eight artists chosen to carve the support beams and interior panels for the rebuilding of the Alert Bay Ceremonial Big House in Alert Bay, British Columbia after the original structure was destroyed in an arson fire.
1998 Exhibition - Treasures from the Undersea Kingdom, Inuit Gallery of Vancouver British Columbia, catalogued exhibition.
1998 Exhibition - Premonitions, Artists Exploring the Possibilities, Spirit Wrestler Gallery of Vancouver, catalogued exhibition.
1999 Private Commission - 10 foot Totem Pole, Thunderbird / Wild-Woman.
1999 Small Animals Display - Commissioned by The Vancouver International Airport to be on display in the Vancouver International Airport. The display consists of eight birds, one full-sized seal, three over-sized crabs and one over-sized frog.
2000 Exhibition - Douglas Reynolds 5th Anniversary Exhibition, Douglas Reynolds Gallery Vancouver B.C.
2000 Exhibition - Transformation and Magic on the North West Coast, Stonington Gallery, Seattle Wa.
2000 Commission – 25-foot pole commissioned by ‘Namgis First Nation.
2004 Commission - 25' foot pole commissioned for Rome Italy.
2004 Commission - 7' pole commissioned for Denmark
2004 Commission -10' pole commissioned for Quebec
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