May 18 to July 5

Tuesdays to Saturdays – 10am – 4pm

Cowichan Public Art Gallery, 126 Ingram Street, Duncan



The Cowichan Public Art Gallery Society (CPAG) is pleased to announce the second exhibition in its interim home.


Graham Pettman was born in 1938 at Fort Vermillion, Alberta, of a Cree mother and a British father. Being nomadic most of his life, Graham has been traveling with his work between BC and Alberta. Many of his works end up in sculpture collections outside of Canada, and his work is acknowledged to be the originator of a new style now in common use among many indigenous sculptors, not unlike the indigenous painter, Norval Morrisseau famed for creating the contemporary eastern woodland style of indigenous painting.

This exhibition at the Cowichan Public Art Gallery is about the Mimigewsiwak or the Cree “Little People” which Graham has illustrated in marvelous stone sculpture. Twenty or more “Little People” sculptures will be presented along with other artwork in this powerful exhibition. The exhibition is a master class in observation and masterly carving inspired by native traditions.

Graham grew up in small town Alberta, spending time with Cree relatives living in the old ways. Observing the lifestyle of his grandfather, an herbalist and trapper; Graham saw a man who lived a simple life surrounded by nature right up until his death at nearly one hundred years of age.

Encouraged by a friend and his brother to work in soapstone, he started carving full-time in 1982. More of Graham’s Cree background and Native heritage is depicted with the integration of the symbols that nature displays. His inspiration comes from the existing shape of the stone before he commences carving.

Graham feels fortunate to live in an area where he can participate in the Native culture, invigorating, enlivening, and illustrating re-emerging ancient traditions relating to the Creator. He enjoyed sketching as a youngster and met and was influenced by A.Y. Jackson (a founding member of the Group of Seven) as a youth in Yellowknife and was later inspired to attend the Alberta College of Art in 1965.
Graham presently lives in 100 Mile House in the Cariboo region of British Columbia Canada where he enjoys the company of his three children: Demian, Mikara, and Aaron.







Exhibition catalogue

click image to open catalogue in a new window


About the Cowichan Public Art Gallery (CPAG)

Founded in 2017, CPAG is working to build a world-class art gallery in the town of Duncan in the Cowichan Valley. Once completed, the Gallery will welcome exhibitions from British Columbia, Canada and the world — including engagement and educational events for the public. In the meantime, CPAG has an annual exhibition program enhancing and expanding arts and cultural opportunities for everyone. More than 400 individuals have signed our petition in favour of the project and it enjoys support from all levels of government. CPAG is a registered charity.