About CR Shoreline Arts & Transformations on the Shore
On July 1 (Canada Day) 1996, well-known local artist Max Chickite stood working on an old stump that had been on the beach for many years.
After 10 hours, a remarkable octopus appeared from the wood and “Octy” was born. Octy was a gift to the city from Max.
A few days later, vandals cut off the Octopus’ head and stole it, but it was found 11 days later on a logging road. Max repaired the charred, damaged head and returned it to Octy’s body.
The vandalism caused furor and is the reason the Driftwood-Carving Competition was started. It was felt that since a city could be so upset about the damage to one carving, it would surely appreciate a city filled with carvings.
“Transformations on the Shore” began in 1997 and has been seen by thousands and thousands. Visitors and local residents love to watch the carvers at work and enjoy the carvings that are left along the Sea Walk and throughout the City of Campbell River.
The Octopus has had other adventures as well, but he is still standing proudly (although much smaller) in his spot looking across Discovery Passage (on the 50th Parallel).
The Campbell River Shoreline Arts Society works long, hard hours to bring this exciting event into being. We appreciate the support of the whole community to keep it going and will be celebrating in 2024 our 27th Anniversary.
The carvings increase tourism in Campbell River with carving tours and events. We are becoming “The Carving Centre of British Columbia”.
About founder Max Chickite
Max Chickite (See Wees Great Paddler) is a Lekwiltok First Nations’ artist, born in 1958 and raised in the Cape Mudge village, which is located on Quadra Island, a short ferry ride from Campbell River.
Max is the great grandson of the late Chief Johnny Chickite. He makes his home in Campbell River with his wife and two daughters, but works carving movie sets in various locations. Max spends the summer months commercial fishing.
Max began drawing, painting and carving at age eleven. His early studies of his First Nations’ Kwagulth heritage is reflected in both his paintings and carvings.
Max enjoys spending time sharing his knowledge of the First Nations’ art by volunteering his time in many of the schools within the community.
He demonstrates the fine art of carving masks to the students, showing them the tools that are used, while explaining both the technical side of carving as well as the stories associated with many of the carvings used in his culture.
1994 was a landmark year in the budding career of this most talented artist. Max will be well remembered in his community for the Bakwus (wild man of the woods) carving he did. Bakwus won an Award of Excellence in Campbell River, BC and then in Cumberland, BC. It was then chosen for the poster of the “Images & Objects” Exhibition for the Provincial Exhibition which was held in Campbell River for the BC Festival of the Arts. Max was awarded one of only five Awards of Excellence in the show.
In 1996 Max saw a vision in an old stump on the beach in his community. He transformed that stump into an octopus and chose to leave it on the beach for everyone to enjoy. The community responded with great appreciation for this wonderful gift.
In 1997 Max’s career as a carver went in a whole new direction for him. He was recognized for his skills in carving and was hired by Walt Disney to be a sculptor for the movie, ‘Eaters of the Dead’. In 1997 Max was very honoured to be nominated ‘Citizen of the Year’ in Campbell River.
Barb Comeau was also down on the beach that day and saw Max creating his work, was impressed, and stopped to talk about it and together they founded the Campbell River Shoreline Arts Society “Transformations On The Shore” which in 2024 celebrates its 27th Annual Event.