Kwakwaka’wakw (‘Namgis) Nation
Born in Alert Bay on Septmeber 14, 1981, Marcus Alfred is a member of the ‘Namgis First Nation of the Kwakwaka’wakw peoples. His father is the renowned artist Wayne Alfred and he is the grandson of ‘Namgis Chief, Pat Alfred. Marcus’s potlatch name is P’adzismaxwa, which is a Hamat’sa name passed down from his great-grandfather.
Alert Bay is the central hub for the ‘Namgis community, providing Marcus with a strong cultural upbringing enveloped within Kwakwaka’wakw traditions and ceremonies. Along with being a well-known carver, Wayne Alfred (Marcus’s father) is an accomplished dancer and has passed these traditions onto his son. Marcus now holds title to the highly sacred Hamat’sa dance, a secret society of the Kwakwaka’wakw people.
Marcus has assisted many artists over the years including his father, Don Svanvik and Beau Dick. He also regularly contributes to significant cultural and ceremonial events that take place within his community. Marcus’s work is enhanced by his deep knowledge of Kwakwaka’wakw dance practices and the utility of ceremonial masks. He creates masks and other carvings that speak directly to his knowledge of the power and beauty of his cultural traditions. Through his artwork and dance Marcus will continue to showcase the significance of his family history and cultural knowledge to the world.