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Tikimaster.com: Shane "Tonu" Eagleton - Master Carver

SHANE "Tonu" EAGLETON

Artist Biography & Project List

Shane Eagleton is a Polynesian master wood carver, environmental artist and educator. He is internationally renown with public art projects completed in England, New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii, the Czech Republic, and the U.S. Shane has been based out of San Francisco, California for the last fifteen years (1987 2002) and his work can be found in the Golden Gate National Parks, the San Francisco Zoo, Presidio National Park, the California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, and Shoreline Amphitheater. He has designed and carved stage art for touring bands Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead, and Peter Gabriel. His wood sculptures have been featured at environmental, musical, and educational festivals around northern California, including Earth Day at the Concord Pavilion, the Bioneers Conference in San Francisco, and the United Religions Initiative Global Summit at Stanford University. Shane has been involved with various nonprofit organizations dedicated to recycling wood for its highest end use. Over the past eight years Shane was a director of the Bay Area Arborist Coop, Inc. specializing in the care of live trees in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has been working with live trees for over twenty years.

Shane is originally from New Zealand and has traveled throughout the world doing his environmental artwork and educating people about the need to protect the Earth. Shanes Polynesian heritage comes from his mother who is from the island of Rotuma in the Fijian islands. His concern and care for all species is equal to his concern for the beauty and survival of indigenous communities around the world.

Over the past five years, Shane has served as the Artist-In-Residence for The Cultural Conservancy in San Francisco, where he works to preserve sustainable indigenous art traditions and use environmental art to educate people about the preciousness of the planet. Through Shanes ecologically-based sculptures, wood block prints, furniture, and healing poles, he communicates the importance of using natural products from the Earth that have been abandoned as waste. All of Shanes wood is salvaged from parks, dumps, and landfills. Through the restoration of indigenous wood carving traditions, Shane inspires communities to re-connect with their roots, protect endangered species and cultural traditions, and celebrate the mana (spiritual life force) that connects all things in the universe.

Since 2000, Shane has worked with at-risk youth from Monterey County, California at the former Ford Ord military base to teach basic wood carving skills and transform recycled cedar logs into life-size endangered animals and healing poles. Through the Monterey Workforce Board, Shane started the sculpture program of the One Voice Arts & Leadership Program of the One Stop Career Center of Monterey County.

In 2001, Shane re-located to the Windward side of Oahu, Hawaii where he teaches basic wood carving to youth and the general public at the Windward Community College (WCC), part of the University of Hawaii system. Shane recently worked with Hawaiian youth from the Alu Like Foundation and the Upward Bound Program teaching them to make drums and tikis. In Hawaii, Shane is developing the Pacific Cultural Institute for Trees and Wood Artisans, an educational center focused on salvaging discarded trees from Oahus green waste and recycling them into environmental and cultural art pieces. In collaboration with other artists, teachers, youth, and community workers, Shane is planning to create a state-of-the-art international institute.

In the summer of 2002, Shane worked in Monterey County for the One Voice Arts & Leadership Program, teaching youth how to carve wood and complete two special healing poles. One of these poles was gifted to the Bronx Zoo in New York on behalf of the Monterey County Workforce Board as a memorial to the people who perished at the World Trade Center.

This October, Shane will create the main stage art for the Bioneers Conference in San Rafael, California and his artwork will be featured at the Cultural Conservancy booth. A silent auction of the Bioneers stage art will be done as a fundraiser for The Cultural Conservancy and the Bioneers Conference.

In the second half of October, Shane will be the Artist-In-Residence at the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito, California, where he will carve a redwood canoe and conduct workshops with children, the museum staff, and the public.

Highlights from Past Projects (a partial list)


In 1992:

Shane carved a Rock for Life Healing Pole, in Czechoslovakia. This pole was carved for a rock concert benefit for cancer research for children.

Bill Graham Presents commissioned Shane to carve a Healing Pole to dedicate to the indigenous peoples of America. The pole stands at Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, California and is viewed by thousands each week.

In 1993:

Shane carved a 33-foot redwood tree as a tribute to endangered and extinct species for Peter Gabriels World of Music and Dance (WOMAD) concert in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. The event was attended by over 100,000 people and an estimated 15,000 people made rubbings from the pole during this one-day event.


In 1996:

Shane collaborated with the poet Laureate Robert Haas for the Watershed Festival to create the installation River of Words which toured around the country. The purpose of this art project was to have people interact with poetry carved into recycled wood and learn about the interface of nature and poetry.

In 1997:

With The Cultural Conservancy and other nonprofit organizations, Shane developed the Kohola Project and organized a public ceremony on Crissy Field in the Presidio National Park to honor the local indigenous peoples, the Ohlone, by gifting them with a 35 foot salvaged yellow cedar Healing Pole carved by Shane.


In 1998:

GGNRA Superintendent Brian ONeill presented Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, a wooden sculpture from a piece of cedar recycled from a Presidio barrack as a gift from Golden Gate National Parks. Shane also carved a sculpture of the continent of Africa with a lion on it for Nelson Mandela and the African Summit.


In 1999:

Shane worked with a group of English youth-at-risk in northern England to teach them how to use wood and tools and to create a special community place resembling Stonehedge (a Woodhenge) using recycled English hardwoods.

In 2000:

From 2000 to 2002 Shane worked with the Monterey Arts and Leadership Program at Fort Ord, Monterey, California, teaching at-risk youth how to carve wood and create environmental art. In the summer of 2002 Shane and his students carved a special Healing Pole as a gift to the people of New York City, in honor of the September 11, 2001 tragedy. For more information about this New York healing pole and its journey, see:

"Local Teens Make Pole to Heal" Healing Pole heading for NYC Sept 11 Gift to NYC

In 2001:

Shanes wood block prints and a whale healing pole were featured at Lanuola, the Colors of Life, the 1st Annual Pacific Islanders Art Exhibit at the SomARTS Cultural Center in San Francisco.


In 2002:
Although now based in Hawaii, Shane continues to work on the mainland and in his old home in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the fall of 2002, TCC sponsored Shane Eagletons artist residency at the Bay Area Discovery Museum (www.badm.org). Shane taught young children how to sculpt with clay, and carved a beautiful childrens fantasy canoe out of recycled redwood log (photo). See the article:

"Reshaping Tradition" -Nov. 02-

In the Fall/Winter of 2002, the Greenwood School of Mill Valley, California sponsored a special art show and sale of Shanes animal sculptures. During this time Shane also made a presentation to the schools faculty and student body about Indigenous and Environmental Art

In 2003:

In the Spring of 2002 and 2003, Shane carved two special Woodfish Awards (four carved fish out of recycled Hawaiian hardwood) as part of the new and annual Woodfish Prize created by Dr. Leslie Gray of the Woodfish Institute www.woodfish.org to honor a Native American and a Euro-American who collaborate on a social action project that is mutually transformative. This is now a new annual tradition and if you are interested in applying for this Award, please see the Woodfish Institute web site. This award is also co-sponsored by the Association for Transpersonal Psychology.

Currently, Shane is setting up his wood carving teaching studio at the Lolani Building at the UH Windward Campus in preperation for full-timeteaching with Hawaiian youth this fall. He is also creating art for the Bioneers Conference in October, and teaching community evening classes at the Honolulu Zoo. Shane is excited to be living in Hawaii, working with the mana of the trees, the aina, and his ancestors. Its great to be living and working with my Polynesian ohana again.

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