First Nation artist, Glen Rabena didn't appear to hesitate when Nothin' Dragon Masters treasurer, Leslie Rodgers contacted him to ask if we could use his artist rendering of the Kingfisher, a bird akin to the Burrard Inlet and chosen to be the key animal totem for the new dragon boat regatta being held at Rocky Point Park, Port Moody, BC on Earth Day 2018.
"With Earth Day occurring on the same day as our inaugural regatta, it was felt that we should celebrate not only the water sport of Dragon Boating, but the amazing environment we have paddled in for almost 20 years," said Brian Kenny, president of the host team, the Nothin' Dragon Masters. "Of all birds that use the inlet, the Kingfisher seems to epitomize the strength and speed one feels on the water. The Kingfisher propels itself stealthily to the water to catch its prize, just like a Dragon Boat team as they put all of their strength and group focus into a race, that is over in a few minutes."
The Burrard Inlet is teaming with wildlife, from birds, to seals, fish and shellfish, most of which can be seen while paddling there. The Inlet Spring Regatta will have several categories and each will be named after birds found in the inlet like the eagle, osprey, and hawk.
Glen Rabena was born in Wapato, Washington. He began carving in Northwest Coast style in Seattle in 1970. The following year he moved to Quesnel, B. C. During 1975 and 1976 he studied at the Kitanmax School of Northwest Coast Art at K'san.
In 1978 he completed illustrations for The Birds of K'san by Susan Marsden and the Gitksan Studies Advisory Group. These proved to be the foundation for his popular birds serigraphs. Though more illustrative than traditional, Glen's ability to capture the spirit of his subject makes his prints much sought after by both Northwest Coast and Wildlife collectors.
In 1986-87 Glen worked with Robert Davidson and his brother Reg Davidson. Projects included various private commissions and the three totem poles at Pepsico's World Headquarters in Purchase, N.Y.
Glen was adopted into the Eagle Clan by Hereditary Haida Chief, Claude Davidson, at a potlatch in Massett, Queen Charlotte Island in November, 1987. He helped Reg carve the first pole in modern time to be raised at a potlatch for the naming of a chief.
During the fall of 1990, Glen and Reg were Artists in Residence at Headlands Centre for the Arts in San Francisco, where they carved a thirty foot canoe.
Currently Glen spends most of his time carving wooden masks, boxes, and bowls for private collections and galleries. Glen is also a fine engraver in silver and gold and a talented painter on wood and hide. These media Glen treats in more traditional mode. He has been commissioned to produce ceremonial objects to be used and given away at potlatches.
Glen lives with his wife and family on Hornby Island, B. C. He spends time carving in his studio as well as enjoying tennis and singing and playing music with friends.
Thank you Glen for your kind donation to the Inlet Spring Regatta!