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A traditional Northwest Coast Native artist for 30 years, Neel began his career as a professional photographer, but chose to become a Kwakiutl artist and follow in his family's footsteps. He apprenticed with master carvers Wayne Alfred and Beau Dick starting in 1987, when he returned from working for several years as a photographer in the USA. He has carved First Nations masks, totem poles, dug-out canoes and hand engraved gold and silver jewelry.
He comes from a family of traditional Kwakwak’awakw (Kwakiutl) artists, including: Dave Neel Senior, Ellen Neel, Mungo Martin and Charlie James. He has authored two books on Northwest Coast Native culture and was involved with the return of the dug-out canoe tradition in the 1990’s. His adult children, Edwin and Ellena, are carrying on the family tradition and also are Canadian Aboriginal artists.
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