Rocky LaRock takes to a scaffold to cut away the first slices of his piece at the 2019 Chainsaw Carving Competition in Hope in 2019. This weekend’s event will be a much smaller carving event, featuring carvers including Ryan Villiers who has designed Hope’s newest work ��� a carving of John Rambo. (Jessica Peters/ Black Press)

Rocky LaRock takes to a scaffold to cut away the first slices of his piece at the 2019 Chainsaw Carving Competition in Hope in 2019. This weekend’s event will be a much smaller carving event, featuring carvers including Ryan Villiers who has designed Hope’s newest work ��� a carving of John Rambo. (Jessica Peters/ Black Press)

Sts’ailes carver Rocky LaRock honoured by Canada Council for the Arts

The artist’s work is being featured at Abbotsford’s The Reach through May 8

Sts’ailes carver Claude “Rocky” LaRock is being honoured by the Canada Council for the Arts for his achievements.

“This recognition from the Canada Council is both exciting and important,” says Adrienne Fast, curator of the Abbotsford gallery The Reach. “Rocky has pursued his art practice for decades, but he’s done so on his own terms and outside of the usual channels of the contemporary art world. Artists like him are not always recognized or supported by the mainstream to the extent that they deserve.”

The Reach is exhibiting a collection of LaRock’s work through May 8: E’yies’lek Rocky LaRock: The Wild Inside. The collection is an exploration of LaRock’s 40-year career as a wood carver, and the first time his work has been displayed together in a public gallery.

“It is truly an honour to share Rocky’s work and his story with a wider audience,” Fast says. “The fact that the Canada Council has recognized the importance of his work is the icing on the cake.”

Born in Seattle, LaRock moved to Sts’ailes as a child to be closer to his mother’s Coast Salish roots.

Well-known for his involvement in local artistic endeavours — from Hope’s Chainsaw Carving Competition to his interviews with Jonny Harrison for CBC’s Still Standing — His experience in traditional hand carving grew out of his Stó:lō identity, and his connections to community and place.

READ MORE: Park it in Hope!

Canada Council for the Arts recently recognized LaRock and his work as being of “outstanding artistic vision and quality,” and said E’yies’lek Rocky LaRock makes a significant contribution to developing appreciation for the arts.

The Canada Council for the Arts also provided The Reach with funding to augment LaRock’s exhibition. The funding will be used to create an exhibition brochure, as well as a series of videos of LaRock sharing stories behind some of the work featured in the museum.

The videos will be available online, as well as at the museum.

E’yies’lek Rocky LaRock: The Wild Inside runs to May 8, 2021. The Reach is open Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday noon to 5 p.m. Admission is by donation.

Please note that Provincial Health Protocols currently advise against travelling outside your region to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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