Joe Mandur is inviting experienced and amateur artists to join him and 2,998 others in carving a pole he’ll dedicate to teacher and artist Freda Diesing. Photographer John Lehmann paid him a visit recently to check in on his progress.
The work of 3,000 carvers?
Artist Joe Mandur is hoping to recruit 3,000 people to help him carve a totem pole he says will allow his teacher to continue her work, despite her death 12 years ago.
Take a notch out for Freda
Mr. Mandur says he’s got 500 people so far signed up to take a notch or more out of the back side of the enormous pole that will be dedicated to Freda Diesing.
Adding to a legacy
A Haida artist, Freda Diesing was born in Prince Rupert and died in 2002. One of her poles stands in a park in Prince Rupert.
No experience necessary
Mr. Mandur says no experience is necessary for would-be carvers, who are invited to spend as much or as little time with the pole as they wish. He’s hoping Premier Christy Clark will participate and he’s already welcomed former lieutenant-governor Steven Point and MLA Robin Austin.
Soaring 12 metres high
The pole is to stretch 12 metres into the air. The back side must be completed before carving on the front design can start.
Carving out a tribute
The wood was donated by Tsimshian Coast Logging.