Rachel Smith ai̓xcemǧa was born in Nanaimo B.C. on Vancouver Island. At a young age, her family moved to Vancouver where she grew up and is currently based.
Rachel is proud of her diverse and rich cultural heritage. She has connections to Kwakwa’kawakw and Wuikinuxv First Nations on her father’s side and feels connected to her Greek heritage on her mother’s side.
Rachel grew up watching her grandfather, father, and uncle carving and painting. Although she has been immersed in Northwest Coast art all her life, she has more recently begun a formal career with her own art and imagery. She apprenticed with her father, Steve Smith, and she introduced her first pieces to the public in 2019.
Rachel takes inspiration from her passion for education and Indigenous rights and values, as well as her love of the natural world. Rachel enjoys weaving traditional Northwest Coast formline elements in with contemporary and minimalist aesthetics. She delights in the creative process and is guided by a desire to respectfully carry forward the tradition of art in her family while expressing herself and her stories through art.
Rachel has completed her Associate of Arts degree in Peace and Conflict Studies and is currently a student at the University of British Columbia pursuing a Bachelor of Education Degree with an Indigenous specialization in NITEP, the Indigenous Teacher Education Program in The Faculty of Education.