My Kwak’wala names are Ika’wega, Kiditle’logw, and Ga’astalaas, and I am from the Mamalillikulla, Ma’amtagila, ‘Namgis, Kwickwasutaineuk and Kwagiulth tribes of the Kwakwaka’wakw people (Kwak’wala-speaking people).
Alert Bay is my original home and I grew up in Victoria, BC.
I first learned to design in our Kwakwaka’wakw style in junior high school, about grade 8, and I continue my life-long journey to learn and create works in this unique style.
My father was John Edward (Ted) Neel Jr., and was the second oldest son of my grandmother, Ellen Ka’kasolas Neel (the only Native woman carver of her era). My grandfather, Edward Lyle Neel was of Irish descent.
My great-grandfather was Charlie Yakuglas James, a master carver who taught my grandmother to carve and was also a mentor to his step-son, Mungo Nakapenkum Martin.
It is truly an honor to be able to do this style of work, so I honor our traditions by creating regalia and other works that are specifically for our traditional potlatch ceremonies; but I also create contemporary works to reflect how I see the world as a Kwakwaka’wakw woman.
I am currently attending Emily Carr University of Art and Design where I am learning new and exciting mediums and exploring great new ways to express myself!