Richard Sumner

Northwest Coast Native Artist Richard Sumner from Kwakwaka'wakw Nation

Kwakwaka’wakw Nation

Born in 1956, Richard Sumner was raised in Alert Bay on Cormorant Island next to the northern coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

At the age of 18, Richard began carving and, by the summer of 1978, he was apprenticing with acclaimed carver Doug Cranmer.

Richard was able to refine his carving skills as a group member of artists chosen to carve the beams and planks for the Big House at the U’Mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay.

Once he moved to Vancouver in the early 80’s, Richard began several commissions including the carving of a replacement Wakas pole for Brockton Point in Vancouver’s Stanley Park.

Richard carves masks, totem poles, bowls, rattles, and spoons, but is renowned for his superb bentwood boxes.

His work is featured in collections at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver; the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria as well as corporate and private collections in Canada, the USA, Europe and Japan.

One of the highlights in Richard’s career was that he was given the prestigious commission to replicate a bentwood box from the American Museum of Natural History in NYC, New York in 1998. The purpose of this commission was for the box to contain the ashes of the late Bill Reid who passed away that same year – the original box was one of Bill Reid’s favorites.


Selected Group Exhibitions:

1996     Above and Beyond, Derek Simpkins Gallery of Tribal Art, Vancouver, BC

1997     Boxes and Bowls, Derek Simpkins Gallery of Tribal Art, Vancouver, BC

2000     Tribal Miniatures ’00, annual exhibition, Alcheringa Gallery, Victoria, BC

2000     Resonance, Inuit Gallery, Vancouver, BC

2000     Time and Tide, Inuit Gallery, Vancouver, BC

2003     In Celebration of the Feast, Alcheringa Gallery, Victoria, BC

2010     Giving Traditions, Alcheringa Gallery, Victoria, BC

2010     Garamuts, Tifa, and Tambourines: Drums of the Pacific Rim, Group Exhibition, Alcheringa Gallery, Victoria, BC

2011      Spirits of the Sea, Alcheringa Gallery, Victoria, BC



Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

Vancouver International Airport, Vancouver, BC

Vancouver City Museum, Vancouver, BC

Works by this Artist (Present + Past + Public)

Past Works

The artist’s Past Works at our Gallery have now sold; however, a custom order may be possible if the artist is available and accepting commissions.