From Bella Coola, Latham has been active in his community from a young age. He helped carve two totem poles in his hometown that were raised in 2002 and 2008, and he has also taught youth about Nuxalk dance and culture in summer programs. In 2008, Latham enrolled in the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art in Terrace. He learned design and carving techniques under acclaimed artists Stan Bevan, Ken McNeil, and Dempsey Bob at the school, and he graduated with Honours in 2010. It was during these productive years at the Freda Diesing School that Latham received not one but two YVR Art Foundation Youth Scholarships, in 2009 and 2010. The scholarships enabled Latham to apprentice with established Nuxalk artist Glenn Tallio and prominent Tahltan/Tlingit artist Dempsey Bob. Since winning his first scholarship in 2009, Latham has gained a following within the Northwest Coast art market and now has several pieces in large public collections.
To what extent did receiving a YVR Art Foundation Scholarship have an impact on your career?
After I was awarded the YVR Art Foundation Scholarships I received a commission from UBC’s Museum of Anthropology and now have a piece that is permanently on display in their Nuxalk collection. Having the support of the YVR Art Foundation gave me a huge boost in my confidence as an artist. You need a mentor and the best tools to get you to the next level, and the YVR Art Foundation provided me with both. If it wasn’t for the YVR Art Foundation, it would have taken me years to build up my carving tools.
What specific skills did you develop as a result of receiving a YVR Art Foundation Scholarship?
I learned finishing techniques from my mentor, which challenged me to raise my standards. Through applying for grants and scholarships such as this, and by dealing with galleries, I developed organizational, administrative, and business skills to add to my arsenal. Also, taking part in scholarship ceremonies and presentations helped me develop better speaking skills.