T.J. Sgwaayaans Young

“I feel it is a privilege to be part of the Haida Nation and consider it an honour to carry on the traditions of my ancestors. My name is Sgwaayaans and I am from the Yaadaas Eagle Clan of the Kaigani Haida in Hydaburg, Alaska. When I was a teenager my grandfather Claude Morrison first showed me the proper way to carve a functional halibut hook. Since then he’s been a major influence in my progression as a Haida artist. I have also been lucky to have had an older brother, Joe Young, teach me the basics of Haida Art. Translating our stories, legends, beliefs through art is both challenging and gratifying. The main medium I work in is wood, mostly red/yellow cedar, and alder. My love for song and dance inspires me to create pieces that are strictly for ceremonial use. I love to dance my own masks, but what I enjoy most is watching other people dance my pieces. The way they interpret my masks through their own style of dancing is exciting to watch. As a student of Haida Art, I feel we must first master the traditional techniques prior to developing a more contemporary style in order for us to progress as a nation in the 21st century.

-T.J. Young


"Transformation", Viscose Scarf

"Transformation" to me, represents the need to rediscover everything about who you were, in order to be who you are." - T.J. Sgwaayaans Young