Noll C. Derriksan: TOUSSOWASKET
(Red Morning Sky)
Born 1940 in Kelowna, as a Colville Okanagan, Noll grew up in the wilderness of the Westbank forests and Okanagan Lake during 40’s and 50’s. Noll has two younger brothers and many cousins who during this time spent countless hours on foot and horseback hunting, fishing, working and exploring. One of the first Natives to enroll in the Westbank Public School, Noll found the opportunity both amazing academically and challenging socially as discrimination was a daily affair. Noll worked hard and showed real potential and talents attending both George Pringle Jr. and high school.
Noll C. 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. A true Renaissance artist, Noll worked in many mediums, synthesising and articulating his ancestral heritage through an impressive body of work including graphics, original paintings, pottery and silver. Largely self-taught he counts Zeljko Kujundzic, Professor Emeritus of Pennsylvania State University, as a key mentor and a life-long friend.
Through the 1970’s and 1980’s Noll went on to become one of British Columbia’s most recognized Native Artists and a sought after mentor, teaching art to others in his Okanagan community. 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. For over 17 years Noll served as President of the BC Indian Arts and Crafts Society an organization which provided grants to over a 100 artist and craftsmen, allowing them to become self-sufficient in their craft. In addition he helped organized an Annual Exhibit showcasing Native Arts and Crafts in Vancouver.
Noll Derriksan, Toussowasket, is proud to be a part of this amazing history of BC Native Art along with his friends and colleagues Tony Hunt, Roy Vickers, Clifford Pettman and countless other artists. Noll served as Chief for the Westbank Indian Band for 6 terms of 2 years each; and received the honorary title of Grand Chief. Over the past number of years Noll has turned his attention away from visual art to the art of development, but never far from mind is the value and importance of art and culture and its role it plays in the quality of one’s life. After many years hiatus Noll is once again returning to his visual arts practice and it will be exciting to see where his work will go next. He considers his greatest creations to be his son, Jayes T. Derriksan who has the same artistic gift for precision to detail and the innate ability to capture the energy lines within his art.
Noll continues to live and work out of his studio and home in Westbank, British Columbia.
Photos by Ron Marsh.