David feels fortunate to have had opportunities to create significant public art throughout the United States. These public art commissions will have long lasting impacts representing Tsimshian culture, history and art. David’s monumental public art projects will serve as learning tools for generations to come and to showcase the high level of Tsimshian art to the world of visitors.
David is most proud that he collaborated with his son, David Robert Boxley on his public art projects, and that his son has achieved prominence as one the very best Northwest Coast artists.
The Canadian Pavilion at Walt Disney World represents Native People of the Northwest Coast with a façade of approaching a Native Village from the waters with a House Front and three Totem Poles. David was commissioned to carve a 30-foot Raven story Totem Pole in 1998 to replace the first of three Totem Poles in the Canadian Pavilion with authentic art from the people of the Northwest Coast. The plan in 1998 was to replace the three Totem Poles, but project delayed due to the millennium activities.
In 2016 the Totem Pole project of replacing the three Totem Poles was completed. David carved the two additional Totem Poles, 25-foot Eagle & the Young Chief Totem Pole, and a 20-foot Killer Whale story Totem Pole. The Totem Poles were dedicated in January 2017.
David is very proud to have his work at the “Happiest Place on Earth” for millions to see and learn of the culture of Northwest Coast Native people.
David had the honor of creating a legacy for his late sister-in-law, Cindy James, who lost a long battle with cancer in 2016. Cindy’s final months of her life were at Northwest Hospital where she shared her vision of having an authentic Totem Pole carved at Northwest Hospital to honor those who have been touched by cancer, the caregivers working to help patients and to those working to find a cure. The Totem Pole serves as an essential part of the healing environment for patients and their families.
Cindy was a member of David’s performance group the Git Hoan Dancers and a dear friend. It was a great honor for David to carve the Cindy James Memorial Totem Pole.
David Boxley, a Tsimshian carver from Alaska, created a totem pole for the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. Boxley, who grew up in Metlakatla, and his son finished the work in the museum’s Potomac atrium, where the Tsimshian dance group Git-Hoan (People of the Salmon) celebrated the unveiling. “There’s few of us,” Boxley told the Washington Post. “But we’re alive and well. We wanted to let people know we’re alive and well.” The totem features a chief holding salmon, a group of villagers, and an eagle the symbol of Boxleys’ clan.
David and his son David R. Boxley were commissioned by the Sealaska Heritage Institute to create one of three monumental works of art for the Walter Soboloff Building representing the regions (Juneau, Alaska) three tribes–Tlingit, Haida & Tsimshian. Dedicated in May of 2015.
The Tsimshian clan house is one of David’s proudest accomplishment and is thought to be one of the largest carved and painted house fronts in the world.
The House Front is an original design created in traditional Tsimshian formline style. More than a work of art, the screen was designed to honor the master artists of the 1800s and to serve as a teaching tool for current and future generations of Northwest Coast artists.
The House Front, made of cedar, tells the Tsimshian story of Ama’ala, the strongest man in the world. After training in icy water, receiving strength from a supernatural being, and defeating many warriors and animals in battles of strength, Am’ala is given the responsibility for carrying the weight of the world.
The house front is considered an exemplary work of Northwest Coast formline – a complex, ancient design system unique to this part of the world.
David was commissioned to carve conference room doors for a Native Corporation Corporate Office. David took this opportunity to work with his son, David Robert Boxley, an accomplished artist, and one of the most prominent Native leaders of his generation.
The Eagle and the Raven were chosen to represent the clans of the Tlingit people. The design scheme was to showcase traditional and contemporary styles of Northwest Coast Bentwood Box design. David designed and carved the Eagle in a traditional style and David Robert designed and carved the Raven in his contemporary style of Northwest Coast Design.
David Robert completed the doors with Cooper Shield door handles that were carved, then cast in bronze.