#2 Second Beach Road
Skidegate, B.C. V0T 1S1
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Skil Xaaw | Xaaw SGaana | Jesse Brillon
Born in 1972 in Prince Rupert, BC, Jesse’s interest in Haida art began when he was a young boy, influenced strongly by his heritage. From the Laana Tsaadas clan of the Skidegate Haida, Jesse holds the names Skil Xaaw (Lucky Fisherman) from his uncle Willis Crosby, and Xaaw SGaana (Great Fisherman) from his chinaay (grandfather) Wylie Brillon, of Cree descent.
Growing up on the water commercial fishing with his chinaay up and down the Northwest Coast and Haida Gwaii, the mystical richness of the lands and waters unfolded to Jesse’s creative and spiritual senses. He developed a love for the many unique islands populating the coastal waters and was instilled with an intense respect for the ocean. Jesse continues to be in awe of these rich environments, and how they have woven themselves into the cultural canvas of the Haida.
Upon his graduation from high school, Jesse’s family presented him with a silver repoussé Shark bracelet by Haida artist Don Yeomans. This gift sparked Jesse’s desire to learn to carve. To start his training, Jesse apprenticed with Don in Vancouver. He then moved to Hazelton to study the art of repoussé with Gitxsan artist Philip Janze. Jesse’s jewelry making skills developed immensely during this time.
Currently living in his home village of Skidegate, Haida Gwaii, Jesse continues to create museum quality pieces individualized by their fineness, boldness, and depth. Jesse’s works are held in private collections globally and have exhibited at the American Museum of Natural History (Totems to Turquoise, New York, NY, 2004); the Museum of Vancouver (Haida Now, Vancouver, BC, 2018-2020); and the Comox Valley Art Gallery (The Potlatch 67-67, Comox, BC, 2018).