Edwin Neel was Born in Vancouver in the year 1990, he has inhabited various cities on Vancouver Island, he currently resides in metro Vancouver, BC. Neel has recently obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, spring 2017.
Neel is a cultural producer of first nations heritage, of the Kwagu'ł, and Ahousaht nations from his father and mother's side respectively. Neel is formally trained and instructed in the formline and carving Kwakwaka'wakw style by his father David Neel, an accomplished carver & Jeweler. His father initially instructed by the late Beau Dick, Wayne Alfred, and Lyle Wilson who’ve indirectly influenced Edwin Neel’s style of carving and formline design. Edwin has being given two tradition names, of Kwakwaka’wakw and Nuuchahnulth Origin. The name Kasolas was given to him during his father's feast at Musuem of Anthropology, UBC in 1993. The name Aanapis during his late maternal grandfather Henry Marshall’s funerary potlatch in 2014.
Neel’s practice is primarily concerned with informed material production of objects from First Nations worldview; that of the Kwakwaka'wakw, and Nuu-chah-nulth to be exact. The practice of wood carving, is a traditional timeless sculptural mode of production, taking place on the Northwest coast, even in contemporary settings. Other works involve examining, reproducing and interrogating traditional Northwest Coast culture within, and through the Eurocentric gaze.
An amount of contemporary indigenous art call upon performative, more speculative methods of dissecting and examining indigeneity and colonialism.
Neel’s practice is concerned with the production of works and their objecthood of ‘objects’ and ‘artifacts’, which anthropology and ethnology do upon divorcing an ‘object’ from its culture of origin. Neel being of a lineage of “object makers”, he seeks to continue his practice of producing Kwakwaka’wakw objects, addressing, and utilising these to question and evaluate the western institutional practices and our engagement of them.
Another concern for Neel is the consideration of translation, within his own indigenous culture, the institutional mechanisms i.e. museums, anthropology, etc. and a viewer's engagement, perhaps of an uninformed background.