Tlehpik Hjalmer Wenstob was raised on Tzartus island in Barkley Sound, in Huu-ay-aht First Nation’s territory, off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Hjalmer is Nuu-Chah-Nulth from the Tla-O-Qui-Aht First Nations on his father’s side, and Norwegian and English on his mother’s side. He is an interdisciplinary artist who specializes in sculpture and carving.
Hjalmer has a master’s degree in visual arts from the University of Victoria, exploring the relationships between cultures and art, and the balance between traditional and contemporary. His work, at times highly political, uses humour and irony to pose difficult questions of respect, reconciliation and environmental issues. Hjalmer also works part-time as an instructor at Camosun College, teaching Arts and Science and Indigenous Studies.
Hjalmer and his family operate Cedar House Gallery in Ucluelet, B.C. where Hjalmer is weaving his contemporary art and political work with more traditional materials and styles.
In 2018, Hjalmer was awarded the national William and Meredith Saunderson Prize for Emerging Artists in Canada, from the Hnatyshyn Foundation in Ottawa, ON.